Prevalence of urinary tract infection in childhood: a meta-analysis

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2008 Apr;27(4):302-8. doi: 10.1097/INF.0b013e31815e4122.


Background: Knowledge of baseline risk of urinary tract infection can help clinicians make informed diagnostic and therapeutic decisions. We conducted a meta-analysis to determine the pooled prevalence of urinary tract infection (UTI) in children by age, gender, race, and circumcision status.

Methods: MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were searched for articles about pediatric urinary tract infection. Search terms included urinary tract infection, cystitis, pyelonephritis, prevalence and incidence. We included articles in our review if they contained data on the prevalence of UTI in children 0-19 years of age presenting with symptoms of UTI. Of the 51 articles with data on UTI prevalence, 18 met all inclusion criteria. Two evaluators independently reviewed, rated, and abstracted data from each article.

Results: Among infants presenting with fever, the overall prevalence (and 95% confidence interval) of UTI was 7.0% (CI: 5.5-8.4). The pooled prevalence rates of febrile UTIs in females aged 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-12 months, and >12 months was 7.5%, 5.7%, 8.3%, and 2.1% respectively. Among febrile male infants less than 3 months of age, 2.4% (CI: 1.4-3.5) of circumcised males and 20.1% (CI: 16.8-23.4) of uncircumcised males had a UTI. For the 4 studies that reported UTI prevalence by race, UTI rates were higher among white infants 8.0% (CI: 5.1-11.0) than among black infants 4.7% (CI: 2.1-7.3). Among older children (<19 years) with urinary symptoms, the pooled prevalence of UTI (both febrile and afebrile) was 7.8% (CI: 6.6-8.9).

Conclusions: Prevalence rates of UTI varied by age, gender, race, and circumcision status. Uncircumcised male infants less than 3 months of age and females less than 12 months of age had the highest baseline prevalence of UTI. Prevalence estimates can help clinicians make informed decisions regarding diagnostic testing in children presenting with signs and symptoms of urinary tract infection.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Circumcision, Male
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Urinary Tract Infections / epidemiology*