Health protection – guidance

Imported fever service (IFS)

Clinical advisory and specialist diagnostic service for medical professionals managing travellers who've returned to the UK with fever.

The imported fever service (IFS) provides:

  • 24-hour, 7-day a week telephone access to expert clinical and microbiological advice to support management of febrile patients, infection control and public health interventions
  • 24 hour on-call molecular diagnostic service for viral haemorrhagic fevers and certain key differential diagnoses eg malaria, dengue
  • next working day diagnostic service for a range of other acute imported fevers such as chikungunya and rickettsias
  • panels of diagnostic tests designed for 10 world regions, with the aim of delivering a positive diagnosis rather than ruling out single infections

How to use the IFS

Hospital doctors can contact the IFS after discussion with their local microbiology, virology or infectious disease consultant.

Call 0844 778 8990 for direct access to one of our on-call experts or see the enquiries process and list of patient details you need before you access the IFS.

If you are seeking information about testing samples from patients with a possible viral haemorrhagic fever (VHF), read Viral haemorrhagic fever: sample testing advice before contacting the IFS.

Sample referral

If you’re advised to send samples for testing by the rare and imported pathogens laboratory (RIPL), complete and enclose a RIPL sample referral form (P1) and send to the address below.

Test results

Positive results are phoned immediately to the referring clinician to support timely patient management, infection control and public health response.

Test results are issued only to identifiable hospital clinicians or general practices. Patients should approach the medical practitioner in charge of their case for their results, not the laboratory.

Public advice

The public can get information on travel-related health issues from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC)

IFS does not offer:

  • telephone advice to the public
  • guidance regarding pre-travel health advice (vaccination, malaria prophylaxis etc)

About the IFS

The IFS is run by Public Health England (PHE) in partnership with:

  • the Hospital for Tropical Diseases (HTD), London.
  • the Tropical and Infectious Diseases Unit (TIDU), Liverpool

Expert advice is provided by PHE consultant microbiologists and virologists and by infectious disease physicians from PHE and our NHS partner organisations.

Diagnostic tests are carried out by the rare and imported pathogens laboratory (RIPL) at PHE. The IFS has close links to PHE Health Protection Services.

Contact information

Imported fever service

Rare and imported pathogens laboratory (RIPL)
Public Health England
Manor Farm Road

Porton Down
Wiltshire
SP4 0JG