Treatable bacterial infections are underrecognized causes of fever in ethiopian children

Sara J. Aarsland, Alejandro Castellanos-Gonzalez, Kameron P. Lockamy, Ruth Mulu-Droppers, Moges Mulu, A. Clinton White, Miguel M. Cabada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Febrile illnesses remain a major cause of morbidity and mortality in resource-poor countries, but too often, tests are not available to determine the causes, leading to misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment. To determine the cause of febrile illnesses, we recovered the malaria smears from 102 children presenting with fever to Soddo Christian Hospital in Wolaitta Soddo, Ethiopia. DNA was isolated from the smears and evaluated by real-time polymerase chain reaction. We identified pathogen DNA with probes for Plasmodium spp., Streptococcus pneumoniae, Rickettsia spp., Salmonella spp., and Borrelia spp. Overall, we showed that it is possible to isolate high-quality DNA and identify treatable pathogens from malaria blood smears. Furthermore, our data showed that bacterial pathogens (especially Pneumococcus, Rickettsia spp., and Borrelia spp.) are common and frequently unrecognized but treatable causes of febrile illnesses in Ethiopian children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-133
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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