Concepts of fever: recent advances and lingering dogma

Clin Infect Dis. 1997 Jul;25(1):119-38. doi: 10.1086/514520.


Fever has been a preoccupation of clinicians since medicine's beginning. One might therefore expect that basic concepts relating to this physiological response would be well delineated and that such concepts would be widely known. In fact, only in the past several decades has the febrile response been subjected to scientific scrutiny. As a result of recent scientific investigation, modern concepts have evolved from a perception of fever as nothing more than a rise in core temperature to one in which fever is recognized as a complex physiological response characterized by a cytokine-mediated rise in temperature, as well as by generation of acute-phase reactants and activation of a panoply of physiological, endocrinologic, and immunologic systems. The average clinician appears to have little more than a regrettably rudimentary knowledge of these modern concepts of fever. This symposium summary considers many such concepts that have immediate relevance to the practice of medicine.

Publication types

  • Congress

MeSH terms

  • Acute-Phase Proteins / physiology
  • Body Temperature
  • Cytokines / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cytokines / physiology
  • Fever* / etiology
  • Fever* / physiopathology
  • Fever* / therapy
  • Forecasting
  • HIV Infections / physiopathology
  • Humans


  • Acute-Phase Proteins
  • Cytokines