Evaluation of the Tetrazolium Test for the Diagnosis of Significant Bacteriuria

Erwin Neter, MD
JAMA. 1965;192(9):769. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080220033007.
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It has become increasingly clear that bacterial infection of the urinary tract contributes significantly to morbidity and even to mortality of both children and adults. In addition, these infections do not always result in overt clinical illness associated with pyuria and albuminuria. Presently asymptomatic bacteriuria can be diagnosed only by appropriate laboratory examinations. A simple and reliable screening test for the diagnosis of significant bacteriuria would be of considerable value to the physician. Several tests have been explored, including the tetrazolium test. This test is based on the observation that 2, 3, 5 triphenyl-tetrazolium is reduced to brightly red-colored triphenyl formazan in the presence of large numbers of bacteria in urine under standardized conditions.1 The present investigation was carried out to compare the results of three types of tetrazolium tests with those of a standard quantitative bacteriologic procedure.

Urine specimens were obtained aseptically from both children and adults. These specimens


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