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Researchers from several universities have been presented with a RCGP Annual Research Paper of the Year Award for research outlining a new symptoms-and-signs-based clinical rule to help GPs diagnose urinary tract infection (UTI) in children, published in Annals of Family Medicine.

Alastair Hay, Carolyn Chew-Graham and Chris Butler© RCGP Alastair Hay, Carolyn Chew-Graham and Chris Butler

Led by Professor Alastair Hay, Centre for Academic Primary Care at the University of Bristol and Professor Chris Butler, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, the three-year study involved 7,000 children and is currently the largest, most comprehensive of its kind in primary care.

Urinary tract infections (UTI) in young children can lead to kidney damage, but are notoriously difficult to diagnose in primary care because symptoms can often be vague and unclear.

A definitive diagnosis can only be achieved by a urine test, but collecting urine samples from babies and children under five is a challenge.

The researchers developed a technique to help GPs and nurses to decide from which children a urine sample should be collected. The technique could reduce the amount of time and effort used to collect unnecessary urine samples and increase sampling among children most likely to have a UTI. The researchers hope this will also help GPs and nurses better target antibiotic prescribing so only those who are likely to benefit from antibiotics receive them.

The DUTY (Diagnosis of Urinary Tract infections in Young children) study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). 

Department team members:

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