One of the biggest problems that parents have when taking care of infants is fever. Infant mortality due to fever is a problem worldwide. According to the Agency of Health Care Policy and Research, if infants under 3 months have a rectal temperature of 38 degree Celsius, then the chances of severe bacterial infection is 6 to 10 percent, 1 to 2 percent chances of bacteremia, meningitis or both.
However, the good news is that in infants between the ages of 3 months and 36 months, the risk of serious bacterial infections has greatly reduced due to vaccines for Haemophilus influenza type B and Streptococcus penumoniae, and this has greatly reduced infant mortality.
With the development of different types of vaccines infant mortality due to fever has greatly reduced all over the world. However, it should be noted that difference in the mortality rates occur from country to country and continent to continent. For instance, infant mortality rate in Africa is ten times higher that the rate that exists in developed countries and some African countries have extremely high infant mortality rates. Sierra Leone, for example, has an infant mortality rate of 157. On the whole, Asia's average infant mortality rate is lower than that of Africa's but certain countries like Afghanistan have high mortality rates; and other countries like Hong Kong have extremely low mortality rates. Likewise, Europe and Canada have low infant mortality rates. On the other hand, the United States has high infant mortality rate compared to other developed nations with 7 infant deaths out each 1000 live births and more than 28,000 infants die before their first birthday. In fact, the US is ranked 29th in the world for infant mortality, tied with Slovakia and Poland.
Fever in infants could be due to a specific reason like diarrhea and bacterial infections or non-specific reason like poor feeding. However, any of these could lead to infant death if adequate measures are not taken. Sometimes, high grade fever can also induce seizures leading to infant death.
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