Fever is one of the most common symptoms of illness around the world, whether from bacterial, viral or other causes.
Fever is also one of the most common causes of health facility visits in low- and middle-income countries – to the tune of 182 million cases per year in sub-Saharan Africa alone, though this represents only a fraction of annual fevers, as most are not seen by health facilities.
Thanks to the increased use of malaria rapid diagnostic tests, we know that less than half of presenting fevers in malaria-endemic countries are caused by malaria parasites.
In the absence of adequate diagnostic tests for common causes of fever other than malaria, people are often treated with broad spectrum antibiotics, with the result that serious diseases may not be properly treated – sometimes with fatal consequences.
FIND is working with partners to support the development of affordable and appropriate new tests that meet the needs of lower-income countries. These include a rapid triage test to distinguish between bacterial and non-bacterial infections, and rapid point-of-care tests to identify the most common infectious diseases that cause fever in different regions.