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Etiology of Acute, Non-Malaria, Febrile Illnesses in Jayapura, Northeastern Papua, Indonesia

We conducted a prospective, inpatient fever study in malaria-endemic Papua, Indonesia to determine non-malaria fever etiologies. Investigations included malaria blood films, blood culture, paired serologic samples analysis for dengue, Japanese encephalitis, leptospirosis, scrub typhus, murine typhus, and spotted fever group rickettsia. During 1997-2000, 226 patients (127 males and 99 females) 1-80 years of age (median age = 25 years) were enrolled. Positive blood cultures (n = 34, 15%) were obtained for Salmonella Typhi (n = 13), Escherichia coli (n = 8), Streptococcus pneumoniae (n = 6), Staphylococcus aureus (n = 5), Streptococcus pyogenes (n = 1), and Klebsiella pneumoniae (n = 1). Twenty (8.8%) patients were positive for leptospirosis by polymerase chain reaction. Eighty (35.4%) of 226 patients had ≥ 1 positive serology, diagnostic for 15 rickettsial and 9 dengue cases. Acid-fast bacilli-positive sputum was obtained from three patients. Most common confirmed (81 of 226, 35.8%)/suspected diagnoses were typhoid fever (n = 41), pneumonia (n = 29), leptospirosis (n = 28), urinary tract infections (n = 20), rickettsioses (n = 19), dengue (n = 17), and meningitis/encephalitis (n = 15). There were 17 deaths, 7 (46.7%) were caused by meningitis/encephalitis. Multiple positive serologic results and few confirmed diagnoses indicate the need for improved diagnostics.

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