The etiology of urinary tract infection: traditional and emerging pathogens

Allan Ronald
American Journal of Medicine 2002 July 8, 113: 14S-19S
The microbial etiology of urinary infections has been regarded as well established and reasonably consistent. Escherichia coli remains the predominant uropathogen (80%) isolated in acute community-acquired uncomplicated infections, followed by Staphylococcus saprophyticus (10% to 15%). Klebsiella, Enterobacter, and Proteus species, and enterococci infrequently cause uncomplicated cystitis and pyelonephritis. The pathogens traditionally associated with UTI are changing many of their features, particularly because of antimicrobial resistance. The etiology of UTI is also affected by underlying host factors that complicate UTI, such as age, diabetes, spinal cord injury, or catheterization. Consequently, complicated UTI has a more diverse etiology than uncomplicated UTI, and organisms that rarely cause disease in healthy patients can cause significant disease in hosts with anatomic, metabolic, or immunologic underlying disease. The majority of community-acquired symptomatic UTIs in elderly women are caused by E coli. However, gram-positive organisms are common, and polymicrobial infections account for up to 1 in 3 infections in the elderly. In comparison, the most common organisms isolated in children with uncomplicated UTI are Enterobacteriaceae. Etiologic pathogens associated with UTI among patients with diabetes include Klebsiella spp., Group B streptococci, and Enterococcus spp., as well as E coli. Patients with spinal cord injuries commonly have E coli infections. Other common uropathogens include Pseudomonas and Proteus mirabilis.Recent advances in molecular biology may facilitate the identification of new etiologic agents for UTI. The need for accurate and updated population surveillance data is apparent, particularly in light of concerns regarding antimicrobial resistance. This information will directly affect selection of empiric therapy for UTI.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"