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Project to improve the treatment of feverish children


Project aims to significantly improve therapy for feverish children
Feverish children are a cause for concern for parents in any case. Also because it is often not clear where the fever suddenly comes from, inpatient treatment is often given for safety reasons, according to the Graz University of Medicine (MedUni Graz). A new research project has set itself the goal of significantly reducing the number of hospital stays and the use of antibiotics in feverish children.

Through better tests for the determination of viral and bacterial infections and through the establishment of Europe-wide standards for the management of feverish children, the research project should make possible significant improvements in the treatment of feverish children. MedUni Graz emphasizes that unnecessary hospital stays and antibiotic prescriptions can be avoided.

Treating feverish children is a challenge
The treatment of feverish children, according to the medical university, "always presents great challenges to the health system." For children who suddenly develop a fever, it is often "not clear whether it is a harmless infection or a dangerous bacterial infection “The children affected were often admitted to the hospital for safety reasons and in many cases unnecessary antibiotic therapy was prescribed for them.

Life-threatening infections are rare
The fight of the body against pathogens mostly leads to fever, which among other things inhibits the multiplication of viruses and bacteria. According to Professor Dr. Werner Zenz from the Clinical Department of General Pediatrics at the MedUni Graz, the vast majority of children suffer from harmless viral infections several times a year, which cause corresponding fever. According to the expert, only a few feverish children actually have a life-threatening bacterial infection.

Difficult to distinguish between viral and bacterial infections
However, according to the MedUni Graz, it is difficult to distinguish between a harmless viral disease and a dangerous bacterial infection at the initial stage of the infection. Many feverish children are therefore admitted to hospitals, have to undergo invasive examinations and needlessly receive antibiotic therapies. This procedure creates “in addition to the avoidable burden for children, antibiotic resistance and enormous costs for the health system,” emphasizes Prof. Zenz.

In 2010, an international research network was established under the direction of Professor Michael Levin from Imperial College in London with the aim of improving diagnostics and therapy in children with serious infectious diseases. The working group has now raised funding for a project worth 18 million euros. Researchers from Great Britain, France, Germany, Greece, The Gambia, the Netherlands, Latvia, Spain, Slovenia, Switzerland and Austria are involved in the project, according to MedUni Graz.

New treatment standards and test procedures
According to Prof. Zenz, the "project objective is to create Europe-wide standards for the medical care of feverish children and to develop new and simpler laboratory tests in order to be able to differentiate quickly and reliably between bacterial and viral infections." of personalized medicine combined with molecular biological and chemical methods. There is also an assessment of the current approach to caring for children with fever and a corresponding cost-benefit analysis. "Inpatient admissions, invasive examination methods and the use of antibiotics should be reduced in the long term," emphasizes Professor. Zenz. (fp)

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