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Undifferentiated febrile illnesses in South Sudan: a case series from Operation TRENTON from June to August 2017


Undifferentiated febrile illnesses present diagnostic and treatment challenges in the Firm Base, let alone in the deployed austere environment. We report a series of 14 cases from Operation TRENTON in South Sudan in 2017 that coincided with the rainy season, increased insect numbers and a Relief in Place. The majority of patients had headaches, myalgia, arthralgia and back pain, as well as leucopenia and thrombocytopenia. No diagnoses could be made in theatre, despite a sophisticated deployed laboratory being available, and further testing in the UK, including next-generation sequencing, was unable to establish an aetiology. Such illnesses are very likely to present in tropical environments, where increasing numbers of military personnel are being deployed, and clinicians must be aware of the non-specific presentation and treatment, as well as the availability of Military Infection Reachback services to assist in the management of these cases.

  • fever of unknown origin
  • disease and non-battle injuries
  • military personnel
  • South Sudan

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