Management of infants and young children with fever without source

Pediatr Ann. 2008 Oct;37(10):673-9. doi: 10.3928/00904481-20081001-01.


There is considerable variation in the clinical management of infants and children with FWS. Community pediatricians generally do not follow clinical practice guidelines that are taught and used at academic training institutions. These guidelines are presented in Sidebar 1 (see page 677) and Sidebar 2. In general, the guidelines provided that all febrile neonates (>38.0 degrees C) should have a "full sepsis evaluation", including lumbar puncture, and be admitted for parenteral antibiotic therapy. Non-toxic appearing infants 29-90 days of age with FWS >38.0 degrees C can be managed using low risk laboratory and clinical criteria. Non-toxic appearing infants >90 days of age who have received Hib and PCV-7 vaccines are at low risk for occult bacteremia and meningitis. Therefore, the only laboratory tests necessary in this age group with FWS >39.0 degrees C are a urinalysis and urine culture for circumcised males <6 months of age and uncircumcised males and females <24 months of age.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Fever of Unknown Origin / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / diagnosis
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Spinal Puncture
  • Urinary Tract Infections / diagnosis


  • Pneumococcal Vaccines