CDC Compares Accuracy of Fever Screening Systems

Two of three models tested detect fever better than the patients can themselves
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Two of three infrared thermal detection systems (ITDS) tested by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reliably distinguish people with and without fever better than individual self reports, according to research published in the November issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

An V. Nguyen, of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues enrolled a sample of 2,873 patients who sought care at three U.S. tertiary care centers. The researchers used the FLIR ThermoVision A20M, the OptoTherm Thermoscreen, and the Wahl Fever Alert Imager HSI2000S to measure patient temperatures, which were compared to temperatures measured orally and self reports of fever.

The investigators found that a total of 476 patients in the sample (16.6 percent) reported having a fever and 64 patients (2.2 percent) were confirmed to have a fever by oral temperature measurement. For detecting fever (defined as 100 degrees or higher), both the OptoTherm and FLIR had greater sensitivity and specificity than patient self reports. Furthermore, the OptoTherm and FLIR had high correlations to temperatures taken orally, while the Wahl device did not.

"Our evaluation of three ITDS in emergency department settings found that the FLIR and OptoTherm reliably identified elevated body temperatures. The high areas under the curve for these two systems suggest that they can differentiate between febrile and afebrile persons with relatively high sensitivity and specificity at an optimal fever cutoff," the authors write.

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