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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 55  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 338-341

Accuracy of subjective assessment of fever by Nigerian mothers in under-5 children

1 Department of Paediatrics, Madonna University Teaching Hospital, Elele, Rivers State, Nigeria
2 Department of Paediatrics, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria
3 Department of Paediatrics, Federal Medical Centre Owerri, Imo, Nigeria
4 Department of Paediatrics, Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Kelechi Kenneth Odinaka
Department of Paediatrics, Madonna University Teaching Hospital, Elele, Rivers State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0300-1652.137226

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Background: Many mothers still rely on palpation to determine if their children have fever at home before deciding to seek medical attention or administer self-medications. This study was carried out to determine the accuracy of subjective assessment of fever by Nigerian mothers in Under-5 Children. Patients and Methods: Each eligible child had a tactile assessment of fever by the mother after which the axillary temperature was measured. Statistical analysis was done using SPSS version 19 (IBM Inc. Chicago Illinois, USA, 2010). Result: A total of 113 mother/child pairs participated in the study. Palpation overestimates fever by 24.6%. Irrespective of the surface of the hand used for palpation, the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) of tactile assessment were 82.4%, 37.1%, 51.9% and 71.9%, respectively. The use of the palmer surface of the hand had a better sensitivity (95.2%) than the dorsum of the hand (69.2%). The use of multiple sites had better sensitivity (86.7%) than the use of single site (76.2%). Conclusion: Tactile assessment of childhood fevers by mothers is still a relevant screening tool for the presence or absence fever. Palpation with the palmer surface of the hand using multiple sites improves the reliability of tactile assessment of fever.

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