Fever after immunization: current concepts and improved future scientific understanding

Clin Infect Dis. 2004 Aug 1;39(3):389-94. doi: 10.1086/422454. Epub 2004 Jul 9.


Fever is a common clinical complaint in adults and children with a variety of infectious illnesses, as well as a frequently reported adverse event following immunization. Although the level of measured temperature indicative of a "fever" was first defined in 1868, it remains unclear what role fever has as a physiologic reaction to invading substances, how best to measure body temperature and compare measurements from different body sites, and, consequently, how to interpret fever data derived from vaccine safety trials or immunization safety surveillance. However, even with many aspects of the societal, medical, economic, and epidemiologic meanings of fever as an adverse event following immunization (AEFI) still elusive, it is a generally benign--albeit common--clinical sign. By standardizing the definition and means of assessment of fever in vaccine safety studies, thereby permitting comparability of data, we hope to arrive at an improved understanding of its importance as an AEFI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Fever / complications
  • Fever / etiology*
  • Fever / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Seizures, Febrile / etiology
  • Vaccination / adverse effects*