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Clin Pediatr (Phila). 1985 Jan;24(1):21-5.

Association of temperature greater than 41.1 degrees C (106 degrees F) with serious illness.


In a 9-month prospective study conducted in an urban emergency room, 15 children with rectal temperature greater than 41.1 degrees C (106 degrees F) were evaluated. Seven of the 15 patients were admitted to the hospital. Two children who were discharged home required subsequent admission, and six were managed on an ambulatory basis. Eight (53.3%) children had serious disease: two bacterial meningitis, two bacteremia without meningitis, two pneumonia, one pericarditis with effusion, and one Kawasaki disease. In four, the final diagnosis indicated a much more serious illness than was considered initially. The laboratory studies did not correlate reliably with the final diagnosis or need for admission. Children with a rectal temperature greater than 41.1 degrees C are at high risk for a life-threatening illness and should be evaluated for sepsis and meningitis.

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