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Recognising UTIs in children may be difficult because of non-specific signs and symptoms, says Dr Louise Newson.
Collecting urine and interpreting results are not easy in infants and children, but it is vital not to miss UTI.
There may be an underlying urinary tract anomaly that needs to be diagnosed, and infection may irreversibly damage the developing kidney Failure to treat may also lead to sepsis.
During the course of childhood, 5 per cent of girls and 1.5 per cent of boys under the age of 11 years will have a UTI. At least 50 per cent of girls will suffer a second UTI during childhood, even in those with no urinary tract anomaly.
UTIs are usually due to bowel flora entering the urinary tract via the urethra.
Most UTIs (85 per cent) are due to Escherichia coli. Pseudomonas infection may suggest an underlying structural abnormality in the urinary tract.
Approximately 40 per cent of children suffering a UTI have an underlying urinary tract abnormality, most commonly vesico-ureteric reflux.