Sterile Pyuria

My 6-year-old has white blood cells in her urine but with nothing growing on the culture. Her pediatrician is concerned. Do you know what could cause this?

Dr. Greene’s Answer:

Sterile pyuria is a condition in which white blood cells are present in the urine without bacteria growing on the culture. In this condition, white blood cells are present in the absence of infection or proven infection. It might be only a passing thing or it can be a sign of kidney disease, tuberculosis, or lupus. When accompanied by fever, it is sometimes a sign of Kawasaki’s Disease. There are a variety of different drugs that can also cause this to occur.

Your pediatrician is right not to ignore this. It is something that should be evaluated to look for the cause.

July 2, 2008

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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