Urinary tract infections decreased in Finnish children during the COVID-19 pandemic

Ilari Kuitunen, Miia Artama, Marjut Haapanen, Marjo Renko

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Social restrictions reduced the rates of respiratory infections in 2020, but studies on the rates of urinary tract infections (UTIs) during lockdown have had conflicting results. This study aimed to report UTI incidence during the first and second waves of COVID-19 pandemic in Finland. We conducted a retrospective register-based cohort study. The whole Finnish pediatric population (children under the age of 15 years, N = 860,000) was included. The yearly and monthly incidences of UTIs per 100,000 children in 2020 were compared to that of three previous years (2017–2019) by incidence rate ratios (IRRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). A total of 10,757 cystitis and 4873 pyelonephritis cases were included. The yearly incidence of cystitis was 12% lower (IRR 0.88, CI 0.83–0.94) among children aged 1–6 in 2020 and 11% (IRR 0.89, CI 0.83–0.95) lower among children aged 7–14 in 2020 compared with previous years. The yearly incidence of pyelonephritis was 16% lower (IRR 0.84, CI 0.76–0.94) among children aged 1–6. No significant decrease were observed among children aged < 1 and 7–14. Conclusion: The incidence of cystitis and pyelonephritis during a period of social restrictions was lower than during 2017–2019, especially in children aged 1–6 years. These results raise the possibility of reducing the occurrence of urinary tract infections in children by improving hygiene measures.What is known:• Social restrictions have reduced the rate of common respiratory infections globally.• Previous studies have presented a decreased or unchanged incidence of urinary tract infections during the COVID-19 pandemic.What is new:• During the pandemic, there was a decrease in the incidence of urinary tract infections in Finnish children and the most prominent decrease was in daycare-aged children.• Improved hygiene measures and social restrictions may have influenced the transmission of uropathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1979–1984
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • COVID-19
  • Cystitis
  • Epidemiology
  • Non-pharmaceutical interventions
  • Pyelonephritis

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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