Contemporary Management of Urinary Tract Infection in Children

Pediatrics. 2021 Feb;147(2):e2020012138. doi: 10.1542/peds.2020-012138.


Urinary tract infection (UTI) is common in children, and girls are at a significantly higher risk, as compared to boys, except in early infancy. Most cases are caused by Escherichia coli Collection of an uncontaminated urine specimen is essential for accurate diagnosis. Oral antibiotic therapy for 7 to 10 days is adequate for uncomplicated cases that respond well to the treatment. A renal ultrasound examination is advised in all young children with first febrile UTI and in older children with recurrent UTI. Most children with first febrile UTI do not need a voiding cystourethrogram; it may be considered after the first UTI in children with abnormal renal and bladder ultrasound examination or a UTI caused by atypical pathogen, complex clinical course, or known renal scarring. Long-term antibiotic prophylaxis is used selectively in high-risk patients. Few patients diagnosed with vesicoureteral reflux after a UTI need surgical correction. The most consequential long-term complication of acute pyelonephritis is renal scarring, which may increase the risk of hypertension or chronic kidney disease later in life. Treatment of acute pyelonephritis with an appropriate antibiotic within 48 hours of fever onset and prevention of recurrent UTI lowers the risk of renal scarring. Pathogens causing UTI are increasingly becoming resistant to commonly used antibiotics, and their indiscriminate use in doubtful cases of UTI must be discouraged.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Humans
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Secondary Prevention / methods
  • Urinary Tract Infections / diagnosis*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / etiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / physiopathology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / therapy*
  • Urologic Surgical Procedures


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents