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JAMA Patient Page
July 4, 2012

Evaluating Possible Infections in Early Infancy

JAMA. 2012;308(1):95. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.3945

The schedule recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for most childhood immunizations begins when infants are 6 to 8 weeks old. Infants younger than 2 months are considered at high risk of developing serious infections from various bacteria and many viruses. Because their immune systems are immature, infants may not appear very ill even when they have a serious bacterial infection, and missing such an infection could have severe consequences. Infants have a poor ability to develop fever in response to infection. Therefore, when an infant younger than 2 months develops any fever (rectal temperature of 100.4oF or higher), physicians conduct a thorough evaluation to look for any bacterial infections.