Febrile illness in Malaysia - an analysis of 1,629 hospitalized patients

G. W. Brown, A. Shirai, M. Jegathesan, D. S. Burke, J. C. Twartz, J. P. Saunders, D. L. Huxsoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


We studied 1,629 febrile patients from a rural area of Malaysia, and made a laboratory diagnosis in 1,025 (62.9%) cases. Scrub typhus was the most frequent diagnosis (19.3% of all illnesses) folllowed by typhoid and paratyphoid (7.4%); flavivirus infection (7.0%); leptospirosis (6.8%); and malaria (6.2%). The hospital mortality was very low (0.5% of all febrile patients). The high prevalence of scrub typhus in oil palm laborers (46.8% of all febrile illnesses in that group) was confirmed. In rural Malaysia, therapy with chloramphenicol or a tetracycline would be appropriate for undiagnosed patients in whom malaria has been excluded. Failure to respond to tetracycline within 48 hours would usually suggest a diagnosis of typhoid, and indicate the need for a change in therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-315
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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