NICE clinical guidelines
Issued: August 2007

Urinary tract infection in children: Diagnosis, treatment and long-term management

This is an extract from the guidance. The complete guidance is available at


In the past 30–50 years, the natural history of urinary tract infection (UTI) in children has changed as a result of the introduction of antibiotics and improvements in healthcare. This change has contributed to uncertainty about the most appropriate and effective way to manage UTI in children, and whether or not investigations and follow-up are justified.

UTI is a common bacterial infection causing illness in infants and children. It may be difficult to recognise UTI in children because the presenting symptoms and signs are non-specific, particularly in infants and children younger than 3 years. Collecting urine and interpreting results are not easy in this age group, so it may not always be possible to unequivocally confirm the diagnosis.

Current management, which includes imaging, prophylaxis and prolonged follow-up, has placed a heavy burden on NHS primary and secondary care resources. It is costly, based on limited evidence and is unpleasant for children and distressing for their parents or carers. The aim of this guideline is to achieve more consistent clinical practice, based on accurate diagnosis and effective management.