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Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2001 Jul;1(4):353-7.

The genetics of otitis media.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Departments of Otolaryngology and Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 3705 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


There is significant evidence from epidemiologic, anatomic, physiologic, and immunologic studies that susceptibility to recurrent episodes of acute otitis media (OM) and persistent OM with effusion is largely genetically determined. The genetics of OM are most likely complex, i.e., many genes are probably contributing to the overall phenotype. The knowledge of a hereditary component has important implications because closer surveillance of children at risk for OM could result in earlier detection and treatment. Further, once OM susceptibility genes have been identified it may be possible to develop molecular diagnostic assays that could enable the clinician to identify the child at high risk for OM and to develop more focused treatments in the future.

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