Urinary tract infections in children

Lancet. 2020 May 23;395(10237):1659-1668. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30676-0.


Urinary tract infections (UTIs) in children are among the most common bacterial infections in childhood. They are equally common in boys and girls during the first year of life and become more common in girls after the first year of life. Dividing UTIs into three categories; febrile upper UTI (acute pyelonephritis), lower UTI (cystitis), and asymptomatic bacteriuria, is useful for numerous reasons, mainly because it helps to understand the pathophysiology of the infection. A single episode of febrile UTI is often caused by a virulent Escherichia coli strain, whereas recurrent infections and asymptomatic bacteriuria commonly result from urinary tract malformations or bladder disturbances. Treatment of an upper UTI needs to be broad and last for 10 days, a lower UTI only needs to be treated for 3 days, often with a narrow-spectrum antibiotic, and asymptomatic bacteriuria is best left untreated. Investigations of atypical and recurrent episodes of febrile UTI should focus on urinary tract abnormalities, whereas in cases of cystitis and asymptomatic bacteriuria the focus should be on bladder function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Asymptomatic Diseases
  • Bacteriuria / complications
  • Bacteriuria / diagnosis
  • Bacteriuria / drug therapy
  • Bacteriuria / microbiology
  • Child
  • Cystitis / complications
  • Cystitis / diagnosis
  • Cystitis / drug therapy
  • Cystitis / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Pyelonephritis / complications
  • Pyelonephritis / diagnosis
  • Pyelonephritis / drug therapy
  • Pyelonephritis / microbiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Urinary Tract Infections* / complications
  • Urinary Tract Infections* / diagnosis
  • Urinary Tract Infections* / drug therapy
  • Urinary Tract Infections* / microbiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents