Fever Of unknown Origin historical perspective

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief:


Fever of unknown origin was something that had confused clinicians for a longer time but there was no formal definition for it until Petersdorf and Beeson gave first formal definition for it almost sixty years ago. Their definition was widely accepted however with advancement of medical knowledge their definition was revisited by Durack and street in 1991 which is still used widely.[1]

Historical Perspective


  • Fever of unknown origin was for the first time defined by Petersdorf and Beeson in 1961 in their article on fever of unknown origin after they studied many cases.
  • Their definition excluded many acute self limiting causes of fever and provide a road map for further work.
  • Working on the outstanding work of Petersdorf and Beeson , Durack and street revisited this definition in 1991 making four categories of FUO.
  • They made these categories based on the etiologies of FUO which are still accepted widely.[2]

Landmark Events in the Development of Treatment Strategies

  • After the medical science advanced more sophisticated diagnostic tools were invented it was possible to find out the exact cause of FUO.
  • Once the cause was known it was possible to direct treatment towards the exact cause this made the prognosis of disease good, decreased complication and reduced use of unnecessary drugs.[3]


  1. Wright WF, Auwaerter PG (2020). "Fever and Fever of Unknown Origin: Review, Recent Advances, and Lingering Dogma". Open Forum Infect Dis. 7 (5): ofaa132. doi:10.1093/ofid/ofaa132. PMC 7237822 Check |pmc= value (help). PMID 32462043 Check |pmid= value (help).
  2. Vanderschueren, Steven; Knockaert, Daniël; Adriaenssens, Tom; Demey, Wim; Durnez, Anne; Blockmans, Daniël; Bobbaers, Herman (2003). "From Prolonged Febrile Illness to Fever of Unknown Origin". Archives of Internal Medicine. 163 (9): 1033. doi:10.1001/archinte.163.9.1033. ISSN 0003-9926.
  3. Mulders-Manders C, Simon A, Bleeker-Rovers C (2015) Fever of unknown origin. Clin Med (Lond) 15 (3):280-4. DOI:10.7861/clinmedicine.15-3-280 PMID: 26031980

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