Diagnosis of febrile illnesses in returned travelers using the PC software GIDEON

Travel Med Infect Dis. 2005 Aug;3(3):157-60. doi: 10.1016/j.tmaid.2004.08.003.


Background: The prompt and accurate diagnosis of febrile illnesses should have the highest priority when dealing with returned travelers. However, traditional diagnostic procedures aided by collecting information from printed materials may have drawbacks. Here, we conducted a retrospective study to evaluate the diagnostic capability of the software, Global Infectious Disease and Epidemiology Network (GIDEON).

Method: We recruited a total of 98 febrile travelers in whom an infectious disease diagnosis had been confirmed by microbiology and/or serology. The presence or absence of symptoms/signs and laboratory abnormalities, travel destination, entry and departure dates, and the date of onset were input into updated versions of GIDEON.

Results: Overall, the correct diagnoses appeared on the differential diagnosis lists for 91% of the cases and ranked first for 52%. A correct diagnosis could be excluded from the differential diagnostic list by the presence of symptoms and signs irrelevant to the disease, which was demonstrated most clearly in a case of Lassa fever. We also found that a correct diagnosis can be listed lower than expected, probably due to the irrelevant database.

Conclusions: Improvements are required at the level of the developer and users are required to have adequate knowledge of infectious diseases for best use of the program. Despite these limitations, we believe that GIDEON is a novel and potentially powerful tool in infectious disease diagnosis.