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Ambient temperature and risk of urinary tract infection in California: A time-stratified case-crossover study using electronic health records



In the United States (US), urinary tract infections (UTI) lead to more than 10 million office visits each year. Temperature and season are potentially important risk factors for UTI, particularly in the context of climate change.


We examined the relationship between ambient temperature and outpatient UTI diagnoses among patients followed from 2015 to 2017 in two California healthcare systems: Kaiser Permanente Southern California (KPSC) and Sutter Health in Northern California. We identified UTI diagnoses in adult patients using diagnostic codes and laboratory records from electronic health records. We abstracted patient age, sex, season of diagnosis, and linked community-level Index of Concentration at the Extremes (ICE-I, a measure of wealth and poverty concentration) based on residential address. Daily county-level average ambient temperature was assembled from the Parameter-elevation Regressions on Independent Slopes Model (PRISM). We implemented distributed lag nonlinear models (DLNM) to assess the association between UTI and lagged daily temperatures. Main analyses were confined to women. In secondary analyses, we stratified by season, healthcare system, and community-level ICE-I.


We observed 787,186 UTI cases (89% among women). We observed a threshold association between ambient temperature and UTI among women: an increase in daily temperature from the 5th percentile (6.0 ˚C) to the mean (16.2 ˚C) was associated with a 3.2% (95% CI: 2.4, 3.9%) increase in same-day UTI diagnosis rate, whereas an increase from the mean to 95th percentile was associated with no change in UTI risk (0.0%, 95% CI: -0.7, 0.6%). In secondary analyses, we observed the clearest monotonic increase in the rate of UTI diagnosis with higher temperatures in the fall. Associations did not differ meaningfully by healthcare system or community-level ICE-I. Results were robust to alternate model specifications.


Increasing temperature was related to higher rate of outpatient UTI, particularly in the shoulder seasons (spring, autumn).

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