- Probability of an infection is calculated based on baby’s age and temperature
- UTIs may occur if small faeces particles enter their urethras from soiled nappies
- This is more likely to occur if babies squirm a lot while being changed
- As well as an unexplained fever, other symptoms include odd-smelling urine
- Up to one in 10 female and one in 30 male babies with a fever have a UTI
Doctors have developed a test that assesses whether babies are suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI).
For many infants the only sign of such an infection is an unexplained fever, while some may also produce odd-smelling urine that is cloudy or bloody.
The test calculates the likelihood a baby has a UTI based on factors such as their age and temperature.
UTIs are common in babies if small faeces particles enter their urethras from soiled nappies, particularly if they squirm a lot while being changed. Urethras transport urine from the bladder out the body.
Untreated, UTIs can cause kidney damage or life-threatening sepsis.
Up to one in 10 female and one in 30 male babies suffering from a fever will be battling a UTI.
To determine whether your baby may be infected take the test here.
Calculator assesses the likelihood a baby is suffering from a urinary tract infection (stock)
CAN BABIES GET URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS? WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Urinary tract infections (UTI) can affect the bladder, kidneys or tubes that transport urine out the body.
UTIs may occur if small faeces particles enter the urethra, which transports urine away from the bladder.
Babies who squirm a lot when having their nappies changed are more at risk.
For many infants, an unexplained fever is the only symptom.
They may also:
- Cry during urination
- Produce odd-smelling urine that is cloudy or bloody
- Refuse to eat
- Have diarrhoea
If a doctor suspects a UTI, they may collect a urine sample via a catheter.
Treatment usually involves liquid antibiotics.
Baby UTIs can be prevented by:
- Ensuring they stay hydrated
- Giving them plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grains, if they are eating
- Wiping from front to back when changing their nappies
- Breastfeeding; studies show doing so for at least seven months lowers the risk
- Avoiding harsh soaps and bubble baths
Studies also suggest male circumcision protects against STIs, however, it is unclear why.
Source: Baby Center
Reduces treatment delays by more than 10%
A study investigating the calculator found that when it was used on more than 1,600 babies presenting to hospital with a fever, no UTI cases were missed.
It also reduced treatment delays by 10.6 percent compared to to the standard UTI diagnosis method.
The researchers, from the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, analysed the electronic medical records of 1,686 children aged between two and 23 months.
The calculator’s accuracy was validated against 384 patients.
Its results were compared against the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines, which diagnose UTIs based on the presence of pus and a certain concentration of bacteria in the urine.
The study was published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
Eating undercooked chicken may cause UTIs
This comes after research released in October last year suggested eating undercooked poultry could give people a UTI.
Nearly 25 percent of chicken and turkey samples examined by scientists contained bacteria that shared the same genetic fingerprints as urine taken from patients with UTIs.
This led the researchers to believe UTIs may be caused by E. coli, which is a bacteria found in the gut and faeces of many animals.
The scientists, from theUniversity of California, Berkeley, suspect UTI sufferers may be eating undercooked poultry or failing to follow the appropriate guidelines for handling raw meat, such as washing their hands thoroughly afterwards.
WHAT QUESTIONS DOES THE TEST ASK?
The urinary tract infection (UTI) test asks parents about their baby’s:
- Maximum temperature
- Sex, including whether they are a circumcised male
- As well as if there is any other fever source
The test then calculates the percentage chance the baby is suffering from a UTI and whether doctors would likely collect a urine sample.