Evaluation of the Nitrite Test in Screening for Urinary Tract Infection in Febrile Children with Sickle Cell Anaemia

  • BJ Brown
  • AO Asinobi
  • OJ Fatunde
  • K Osinusi
  • NA Fasina


Background: Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a significant cause of morbidity in children and individuals with sickle cell anaemia (SCA) have been reported to be at increased risk. It will be useful to have a simple means of screening such children for UTI with a view to instituting prompt treatment.
Objectives: The objective of the study was to evaluate the usefulness of the nitrite test in detecting UTI in febrile SCA children.
Methods: This prospective study was carried out in the department of Paediatrics, University College Hospital, Ibadan. The study group consisted of 171 children aged one to 15 years with SCA presenting with fever (temperature e” 37.5oC). Midstream urine specimen was collected from each patient and subjected to nitrite test, microscopy, culture and sensitivity.
Results: There was significant bacteriuria in 37 (21.6 percent) children. A positive test for nitrite was obtained in the urine of eight patients, seven of whom had bacteriuria. The nitrite test in detecting bacteriuria had a specificity of 99.2 percent, a sensitivity of 18.9 percent, a positive predictive value of 87.5 percent and a negative predictive value of 81.6 percent. A positive nitrite test was significantly associated with bacteriuria, while a negative test was also significantly associated with an absence of bacteriuria.
Conclusion: The nitrite test is useful as a screening test for UTI in SCA children. However, in sick children, urine microscopy and culture should still be done in spite of a negative test.
Nigerian Journal of Paediatrics Vol.31(1) 2004: 10-13

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