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urinary tract infection

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Urinary tract infection (UTI) is the presence and multiplication of microorganisms in one or more structures of the urinary tract with organisms invading the surrounding tissue (1).

Infections of the urinary tract are very common accounting for 1-3% of all consultations in general practice per year (2). It is accountable for the second most common clinical indication for empirical antimicrobial therapy in primary and secondary care (3).

It is much more common in women than in men (2). Most women will have at least one urinary tract infection in their lives. It is more unusual in men (in men between 20 and 60 the incidence is less than <1%) who have longer urethras and should be investigated for underlying pathology e.g. – prostate pathology (2).

UTI includes a variety of clinical syndromes,

  • acute and chronic pyelonephritis (kidney and renal pelvis)
  • cystitis (bladder)
  • urethritis (urethra)
  • epididymitis (epididymis)
  • prostitis (prostate) (1)

The rate of incidence

  • is equal between the sexes in the first year of life
  • in elderly it is between 1 and 3 %
  • increases with age, co-existent disease or institutional care (2).