Importance: Fever in the first months of life remains one of the most common pediatric problems. Urinary tract infections are the most frequent serious bacterial infections in this population. All published guidelines and quality initiatives for febrile young infants recommend lumbar puncture (LP) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) testing on the basis of a positive urinalysis result to exclude bacterial meningitis as a cause. For well infants older than 28 days with an abnormal urinalysis result, LP remains controversial. Objective: To assess the prevalence of bacterial meningitis among febrile infants 29 to 60 days of age with a positive urinalysis result to evaluate whether LP is routinely required. Data Sources: MEDLINE and Embase were searched for articles published from January 1, 2000, to July 25, 2018, with deliberate limitation to recent studies. Before analysis, the search was repeated (October 6, 2019) to ensure that new studies were included. Study Selection: Studies that reported on healthy, full-term, well-appearing febrile infants 29 to 60 days of age for whom patient-level data could be ascertained for urinalysis results and meningitis status were included. Data Extraction and Synthesis: Data were extracted in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines and used the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale to assess bias. Pooled prevalences and odds ratios (ORs) were estimated using random-effect models. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was the prevalence of culture-proven bacterial meningitis among infants with positive urinalysis results. The secondary outcome was the prevalence of bacterial meningitis, defined by CSF testing or suggestive history at clinical follow-up. Results: The parent search yielded 3227 records; 48 studies were included (17 distinct data sets of 25374 infants). The prevalence of culture-proven meningitis was 0.44% (95% CI, 0.25%-0.78%) among 2703 infants with positive urinalysis results compared with 0.50% (95% CI, 0.33%-0.76%) among 10 032 infants with negative urinalysis results (OR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.39-1.38). The prevalence of bacterial meningitis was 0.25% (95% CI, 0.14%-0.45%) among 4737 infants with meningitis status ascertained by CSF testing or clinical follow-up and 0.28% (95% CI, 0.21%-0.36%) among 20 637 infants with positive and negative urinalysis results (OR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.48-1.68). Conclusions and Relevance: In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the prevalence of bacterial meningitis in well-appearing febrile infants 29 to 60 days of age with positive urinalysis results ranged from 0.25% to 0.44% and was not higher than that in infants with negative urinalysis results. These results suggest that for these infants, the decision to use LP should not be guided by urinalysis results alone.
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