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July 1979

Factitious Fever Updated

Arch Intern Med. 1979;139(7):739-740. doi:10.1001/archinte.1979.03630440009004

The clinical spectrum of factitious disease is sufficiently complex to make it inevitable that patients with selfinduced illnesses will continue to confound physicians and plague medical institutions. In particular, patients with factitious fever (FF) remain as challenging to clinicians today as they were a century ago.1 A recent review by Rumans and Vosti2 once again draws our attention to this fraudulent malady.

Consistently running through the FF literature have been two closely linked themes—the mastery of deception and remarkable ingenuity displayed by these troubled patients and the chagrin of their physicians over failing to recognize this disorder more swiftly. Prompt detection not only spares patients prolonged hospitalization and unwarranted treatment and procedures, but more important, it allows appropriate psychiatric care to be offered.2,3 Since early detection can be viewed as the clinician's primary responsibility and most helpful therapeutic intervention in factitious disease, the answers to the following