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J Infect Dis. 2002 Feb 1;185(3):375-9. Epub 2002 Jan 9.

Recurrent urinary tract infections in infancy: relapses or reinfections?

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Hospital for Children and Adolescents, University of Helsinki, Finland.


Seventeen infants with an index episode of pyelonephritis caused by Escherichia coli were monitored for 18 months for recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs). All the infants had at least 1 recurrent UTI caused by the same pathogen. Twenty-six recurrent UTI episodes were recorded. The 40 E. coli strains available were analyzed by multiplex polymerase chain reaction for 3 alleles (classes I-III) of the papG gene and by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) after genomial digestion by XbaI. Of the 17 index strains, 12 (71%) carried the papG gene; 67% of these strains had class II alleles. In recurrent UTI isolates, the papG-positive E. coli appeared in 16 (70%) of 23 isolates. The proportion of all recurrent isolates available that represented a strain previously encountered (indistinguishable or highly similar in PFGE) in the same infant was 65%. Our results suggest that most recurrent UTIs in infants are endogenous relapses rather than reinfections caused by new organisms.

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