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Background: Urinary tract infections (UTIs) in the paediatric population are well recognised as a cause of acute morbidity and chronic medical conditions, such as hypertension and renal insufficiency later in adulthood. Although antimicrobial treatment of UTIs is simple, the disease is still largely misdiagnosed and mismanaged. Moreover, increasing resistance to conventional antimicrobials is eroding the success of empiric therapy.
Objective: To determine prevalence, aetiological agents, and antimicrobial sensitivity patterns of UTIs amongst children admitted at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC).
Methodology: A cross-sectional, hospital-based study was conducted at the KCMC Department of Paediatrics and Child Health between December 2013 and April 2014. All children ages 2 months to 14 years who were admitted in the paediatric ward during the study period and fulfilled study criteria were enrolled. Data were collected by structured questionnaires. A urine dipstick test was done to detect the presence of nitrites and leucocytes, and to perform microscopic analysis of leucocytes and bacteria. All positive cases with the urine dipstick were cultured to determine bacterial species and antimicrobial susceptibility. Urine culture is considered the gold standard to confirm UTI.
Results: A total of 343 children enrolled in the study. Of these, 208 (60.6%) were male and 135 (39.4%) were female. The urine dipstick test was positive for leucocyte esterase and nitrate in 87 (25.4%) and 33 (9.6%), respectively, and urine microscopy showed leucocytes and bacteria by microscope in 38 (11.1%) and 24 (7.0%) samples, respectively. UTI was confirmed by culture in 11.4% (39/343) of the samples. Female children and children less than 24 months old had a higher prevalence of UTI (17% and 15.8%, respectively). Female sex (odds ratio [OR] 2.46, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.25–4.86), presence of leucocytes esterase (OR 32.20, 95% CI, 12.03–86.19), and nitrate in urine dipstick (OR 5.87, 95% CI, 3.44–3.65) were associated with UTI. Leucocyte esterase, nitrite, microscopic leucocyte, and bacteria were positive in 34 (87.2%), 24 (61.5%), 30 (78.9%), and 23 (59%) samples, respectively, using culture as a gold standard. Antimicrobial sensitivity of nitrites, leucocyte esterase, microscopic leucocyte, and bacteria was 38.1%, 87.2%, 97.4%, and 59.0%, respectively, and specificity was 94.1%, 82.6%, 82.2%, and 99.7%. The most common bacterial species isolated were Escherichia coli 46.2% (18/39) and Klebsiella pneumoniae 30.8% (12/39); both exhibited low susceptibility to ampicillin, co-trimoxazole, and clindamycin, but they were susceptible to ciprofloxacin, nalidixic acid, and ceftazidime.
Conclusions: UTIs are common conditions affecting children admitted at KCMC. The prevalence is higher in infants and children younger than 24 months. E coli and K pneumoniae were the most common isolated organisms with low susceptibility in commonly used antibiotics. Antimicrobials, such as ciprofloxacin, ceftriaxone, and gentamicin, are more likely to be successful for empirical treatment of UTIs.