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July 11, 1966

Clues To Mysterious Fevers

JAMA. 1966;197(2):29-30. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110020015004

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Fever can be a paradox. While it is perhaps the most universal sign used by the physician ( and the one the patient most closely associates with disease), it is a manifestation for which a cause sometimes cannot be found.

In many instances, however, FUO (fever of undetermined origin) is a medical chart symbol, not of diagnostic exhaustion, but of incomplete diagnosis.

The clues which are sometimes overlooked, or misinterpreted, in the diagnosis of mysterious fevers was the subject of a panel discussion at the Annual Convention.

It must be remembered, said Elisha Atkins, MD, that although elevation of body temperature is a hallmark of many diseases, the single common denominator of most febrile conditions is inflammation.

The association of fever and inflammation is one of the oldest of clinical observations; but, it has only been in recent years that experimental proof of the essential role played by the host's tissues

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