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Fever in the returned traveler

Vincent Lo Re, Stephen J Gluckman
American Family Physician 2003 October 1, 68 (7): 1343-50
14567489
With the rising popularity of international travel to exotic locations, family physicians are encountering more febrile patients who recently have visited tropical countries. In the majority of cases, the fever is caused by a common illness such as tracheobronchitis, pneumonia, or urinary tract infection. However, fever in returned travelers always should raise suspicion for a severe or potentially life-threatening tropical infection. In addition to the usual medical history, physicians should obtain a careful travel history, a description of accommodations, information about pretravel immunizations or chemoprophylaxis during travel, a sexual history, and a list of exposures and risk factors. The extent and type of lymphadenopathy are important diagnostic clues. Altered mental status with fever is an alarm symptom and requires urgent evaluation and treatment. Malaria must be considered in patients who traveled even briefly within an endemic area. Enteric fever is treated with fluoroquinolones, dengue fever with supportive measures only, leptospirosis with penicillin or doxycycline, and rickettsial infections with doxycycline.

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