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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1990 Jun;85(6):1030-9.

The microbiology of chronic sinus disease in children with respiratory allergy.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of California-Los Angeles.


Chronic maxillary sinusitis is common in children with respiratory allergy and is associated with increased morbidity. The bacteriology of chronic sinus disease in these children has not been adequately evaluated. Between May 1987 and January 1988, 12 children (aged 3 to 9 years), all with documented respiratory allergy and chronic respiratory symptoms consistent with chronic sinusitis (greater than 30 days), were fully evaluated. History, physical examination, complete blood count, nasal smear, and Waters x-ray were done. All patients had opacification of one or both maxillary sinuses, failed to respond to multiple courses of antibiotics, and subsequently underwent maxillary sinus aspiration and irrigation. Specimens were cultured for aerobic and anaerobic organisms with standard technique, and sensitivities were obtained. Culture results revealed a single organism (Moraxella [Branhamella] catarrhalis) in five patients, one patient yielded M. catarrhalis plus Streptococcus species, three were negative, and three patients grew multiple organisms (two with multiple aerobic streptococcal species and one patient with aerobic streptococci and Peptostreptococcus). All children received appropriate culture-directed antimicrobial therapy. Sequential biweekly follow-up revealed progressive radiographic clearing and significant symptomatic improvement. M. catarrhalis is a common pathogen, whereas anaerobic organisms are unusual as a cause of chronic maxillary sinusitis in allergic children. Some children, despite negative cultures, may benefit from maxillary sinus irrigation.

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