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Of 567 children under five registered with an industrial general practice over a 10-year period, 559 presented with symptoms of ill health in the first five years of life, and of these, 158 (27·9 per cent of those registered) had urine cultured using the dip-slide method. Thirty-four (12·3 per cent) girls and 23 (7·9 per cent) boys had at least one episode of significant bacteriuria. Two boys and three girls were found to have radiological abnormalities of the genito-urinary tract, of which two were obstructive lesions requiring surgery.
Symptoms usually ascribed to the urinary tract in older children and adults did not discriminate for infection in this age group and were not a reliable indicator of the presence, or of the absence, of significant bacteriuria.
The incidence of significant bacteriuria was considerably above that recorded by surveys on asymptomatic children. Proteus infections were four times more common among boys than girls, and under the age of three the proportion of boys with bacteriuria exceeded that of girls.
Dip-slide culture is a valuable tool in the diagnosis, management, and follow-up of urinary tract infection.