Management of febrile illness in rural Guinea over a seven-year period: a retrospective study

Karifa Kourouma, Fassou Mathias Grovogui, Alexandre Delamou, Mahamoud Sama Chérif, Brecht Ingelbeen, Abdoul Habib Beavogui, Johan van Griensven, Emmanuel Bottieau

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INTRODUCTION: Febrile illnesses constitute a major clinical challenge in tropical settings. We aimed to assess the frequency, presentation and management of febrile illness at two health facilities in Forécariah, Guinea, with a focus on appropriateness of antibiotic prescription.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a retrospective study conducted in patient files in a health center and a district hospital. Proportions of antibiotic prescription were determined by age group and syndromes as well as appropriateness of antibiotic prescription using the WHO model list (2019).

RESULTS: From 2014 to 2020, 23,583 of 62,185 (38.0%) visits were related to febrile illness. Most patients with fever were female (56.1%) and evaluated at the health center (81.0%). Gastrointestinal (40.6%) and respiratory syndromes (36.8%), and undifferentiated fever (30.0%) were the most common presentations. Malaria was confirmed in 61.3% of the cohort. Overall, the rate of antibiotic prescription was high (14,834/23,583, 62.9%), mostly among patients aged <5 years (5,285/7,566, 69.9%), those with respiratory (7,577/8,684, 87.3%) and gastrointestinal (6,324/9,585, 66.0%) syndromes. Moreover, 7,432/14,465 (51.4%) patients with malaria were also prescribed an antibiotic. Penicillin (42.0%), cotrimoxazole (26.3%) and quinolones (18.7%) were the most frequently prescribed antibiotics. Overall, appropriateness of antibiotic prescription was low (38.3%), and even more so in patients with respiratory (29.1%) and gastrointestinal (25.8%) syndromes.

CONCLUSIONS: Febrile illness is a major cause of consultation in rural Guinea. Rate of antibiotic prescription was high, even in confirmed malaria and was often considered inappropriate. There is a pressing need to investigate the etiological spectrum and improve the diagnostic approach of febrile illness in Guinea.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS Global Public Health
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)e0001133
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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