Author(s): Brauner A, Jacobson SH, Khn I
Twenty-three women with non-obstructive acute pyelonephritis due to Escherichia coli were prospectively studied during 880 patient months, mean observation time 38 months. Each patient had between 1 and 4 new episodes of E. coli bacteriuria during the study period (altogether 49 recurrencies). All E. coli isolates were typed by biochemical fingerprinting. Twenty-six of the recurrencies were caused by an E. coli strain identical to one of those that had previously appeared. Sixteen of these infections were caused by a strain identical to the one that gave rise to the original acute pyelonephritis. Ten further recurrencies were due to an E. coli strain that had previously caused symptomatic or asymptomatic bacteriuria during the observation period. Despite appropriate treatment and repeated negative urine cultures post-treatment, infections caused by identical E. coli strains occurred up to 35 months after the initial episode of acute pyelonephritis. We suggest that the infecting E. coli strain may survive in the fecal flora or is harboured in the patient's surroundings, and after recolonizing the patient, these strains may give rise to further urinary tract infections.