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Doctors over-treat urine bacteria: study

In a new study of patients with bacteria in their urine, doctors prescribed antibiotics to one in three who had no symptoms and no evidence of a urinary tract infection.

In those cases, the bacteria probably would have disappeared on their own without causing any problems, researchers said, and treating those patients with drugs goes against guidelines -- because it increases the risk of antibiotic resistance without any real benefit.

"When the average physician sees a positive (for bacteria) urine culture, they automatically think of treating," said Dr. Peter Gross, an infectious diseases specialist at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey who was not involved in the new study.

Gross told Reuters Health that many doctors are afraid of the consequences -- such as getting sued -- if they decide not to treat bacteria in the urine and it does develop into something more serious. Others, he added, might equate a positive test for bacteria with a urinary tract infection, or UTI, without thinking about other options.
 
 

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