Trends in the health burden due to urinary tract infection in children in Australia

JC Craig, LM Irwig, JF Knight, LP Roy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To estimate the health burden of urinary tract infection in children less than 15 years of age in Australia and to ascertain whether any significant change has occurred during the past decade.

Methodology: The number of children less than 15 years of age who were admitted in New South Wales for urinary tract infection between 1981 and 1994 was ascertained from the Department of Health, and age and sex specific incidence rates were calculated using Australian Bureau of Statistics population data. Costs for inpatient care were calculated using the cost weights from Australia National Disease Related Groups Version 3 for urinary tract infection (DRG 577). The frequency of the four most commonly requested renal tract imaging procedures in children following urinary tract infection and which qualified for Medicare reimbursement were obtained from the Health Insurance Commission for 1984–1994: micturating cystourethrography, intravenous urography, renal ultrasonography, and nuclear medicine renal studies.

Results: There were 1203 children who were admitted with urinary tract infection in New South Wales in 1994, at an estimated cost of $A1.6 million. Since 1981, the age standardized annual incidence of urinary tract infection requiring hospitalization has increased from 0.5 to 0.9 per 1000 children, largely because of an increase in the number of young children admitted (from 0.6 to 2.0 per 1000 children less than 5 years of age). In 1994, 46 230 non‐inpatient renal imaging procedures were undertaken in children under 15 years of age at a cost of $A5.3 million.

Conclusions: Urinary tract infection is an important and increasing health problem for Australian children, particularly for preschool children. Whether this represents a true increase in the incidence of urinary tract infection or improved diagnosis and more intensive management is not possible to establish with this study design. Prospective population based studies are required to assess more completely the frequency with which urinary tract infection occurs in children and any changes that may be occurring.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-438
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • childhood
  • cost analysis
  • renal tract imaging
  • urinary tract infection


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