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Prolonged fever is associated with adverse outcomes in dengue viral infection. Similar fever patterns are observed in COVID-19 with unclear significance. We conducted a hospital-based case-control study of patients admitted for COVID-19 with prolonged fever (fever >7 days) and saddleback fever (recurrence of fever, lasting <24 hours, after defervescence beyond day 7 of illness). Fever was defined as a temperature of ≥38.0°C. Cytokines were determined with multiplex microbead-based immunoassay for a subgroup of patients. Adverse outcomes were hypoxia, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, mechanical ventilation, and mortality. A total of 142 patients were included in the study; 12.7% (18/142) of cases had prolonged fever, and 9.9% (14/142) had saddleback fever. Those with prolonged fever had a median duration of fever (interquartile range [IQR]) of 10 (9-11) days for prolonged fever cases, while fever recurred at a median (IQR) of 10 (8-12) days for those with saddleback fever. Both prolonged (27.8% vs 0.9%; P < .01) and saddleback fever (14.3% vs 0.9%; P = .03) were associated with hypoxia compared with controls. Cases with prolonged fever were also more likely to require ICU admission compared with controls (11.1% vs 0.9%; P = .05). Patients with prolonged fever had higher induced protein-10 and lower interleukin-1α levels compared with those with saddleback fever at the early acute phase of disease. Prolonged fever beyond 7 days from onset of illness can identify patients who may be at risk of adverse outcomes from COVID-19. Patients with saddleback fever appeared to have good outcomes regardless of the fever. © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America.


Deborah H L Ng, Chiaw Yee Choy, Yi-Hao Chan, Barnaby E Young, Siew-Wai Fong, Lisa F P Ng, Laurent Renia, David C Lye, Po Ying Chia, National Centre for Infectious Diseases COVID-19 Outbreak Research Team. Fever Patterns, Cytokine Profiles, and Outcomes in COVID-19. Open forum infectious diseases. 2020 Sep;7(9):ofaa375

PMID: 32999893

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