Key facts and checkpoints

• Screening of asymptomatic women has shown that about 5% have bacterial UTI. 1

• About 1% of neonates and 1-2% of schoolgirls have asymptomatic bacteriuria. 2

• About one-third of women have been estimated to have symptoms suggestive of cystitis at some stage of their life.

• The vast majority of these women have anatomically normal renal tracts, are at no significant risk from the UTI and respond quickly to simple therapy. The prevalence of underlying abnormalities is estimated at around 4%. 3

• UTIs are largely caused by organisms from the bowel that colonise the perineum and reach the bladder via the urethra. In many young women infections are precipitated by sexual intercourse. Ascending infection accounts for 93% of UTIs.

• Haematogenous infection can occur sometimes, especially with the immunocompromised patient.

• All males and females less than 5 years presenting with a UTI require investigation for an underlying abnormality of the urinary tract.

• In the presence of a normal urinary tract there is no evidence that UTI leads to progressive renal damage.

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