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J Clin Pathol. 2001 Dec;54(12):911-9.

ACP Best Practice No 167: the laboratory diagnosis of urinary tract infection.

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Clinical Microbiology Laboratory, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP, UK.


Urinary tract infection is common, and it is not surprising that urine specimens make up a large proportion of those samples submitted to the routine diagnostic laboratory. Many of these specimens will show no evidence of infection and several methods can be used to screen out negative samples. Those that grow bacteria need to be carefully assessed to quantify the degree of bacteriuria and hence clinical relevance. To influence treatment, a final report should be produced within 24 hours of specimen receipt, with turnaround times continuously monitored. Much work needs to be done to determine the cost effectiveness involved in processing urine specimens and the evidence base for the final report provided.

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