As pointed out by Dr Rapkin in this issue (p 133), urinary tract infections are a common cause of morbidity in childhood. In the Swedish town of Göteborg, with about 500,000 inhabitants, all new urinary tract infections were studied over a seven-year period, and it was shown that the risk of acquiring symptomatic infections for boys up to the age of 11 was 1.1% and for girls 3%. Naturally the question arises whether screening for symptomless infection could prevent this high morbidity. To answer this question it is essential to know whether symptomless infections lead to symptomatic infection and if so whether treatment, suitable for use on a large scale, could prevent the development of symptoms.

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