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Urinary Disorders

Can Kidney Infections Be Non-Bacterial

08/31/2007

Question:

I have had a UTI and kidney infection for 3 1\2 weeks with fever, chills, pain etc. I saw my GP at onset and was found to have infected urine. We sent urine out for culture and it did not grow bacteria. Three days later I was in the ER with a full blown acute kidney infection and looked like I was hemmoraging blood in my urine. I also had fever, chills, nausea and pain. ER doc says I have infected urine, started me on IV Levaquin and sent me home on meds and pain killers. Sent labs out - again, no bacteria. Followed up a few days later with GP with fever, chills, nausea and pain. Once again, infected urine in the office, no bacteria in the culture. Still running 99.1, pain (!), nausea, some chills. I`m resistant to Cipro, Penicillin, Levaquin and allergic to Macrobid. I`ve been on Bactrim DS, IV and oral Levaquin, Rocephin and Ceftin - and no improvement. CT @ ER came back negative (i.e. stones). I do not have Interstital Cystitis.

The last time this happened (last year) my gastro referred me to a urologist the next day. The urologist looked at me and went "you`re urine is fine. Why are you here?" And here I am today....

I`m a teacher and go back to my kids in about two weeks. I look and feel like death warmed over. This is a vicious cycle I have to get under control. Please help.

Answer:

In my experience, 11 % of urinary tract infections that are serious or severe do not grow a bacterial agent responsible for the infection when the patient is not on antibiotics. When a person is on an antibiotic the chance to grow the organism is much less.

I have not personally made a diagnosis of a viral urinary tract infection, but fungal urinary tract infections certainly occur.

My guess is that as you were on antibiotics this is the reason no organism was grown. Having said the above, physicians usually treat people based on their clinical findings of infection even when no organism is found.

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Response by:

R Bruce  Bracken, MD R Bruce Bracken, MD
Professor of Surgery
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati