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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 1996 Aug;36(3):215-30.

Prevalence of otitis media in a survey of 591 unselected Greenlandic children.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark.


In an unselected survey in two Greenlandic towns, 591 children were examined to study the prevalence of otitis media (OM). The attendance rate in Nuuk was 80%, while 93% participated in Sisimiut. The children were three-, four-, five- and eight-years-old and represented 18% of children in these age groups in all Greenland. In total, 51.7% in Nuuk and 54.1% in Sisimiut presented pathologic middle ear affections ranging from slight to severe. The prevalence rates of chronic OM (COM) were 6.8% in Nuuk and 11.7% in Sisimiut (P = 0.055) but without significant age or sex difference. The acute OM point prevalence rate was between 1.5% and 0.4%. The prevalence rate of middle ear effusion (MEE) was between 23.0% and 28.2%. Secretory OM was significantly more prevalent in the younger age groups. The odds ratio of having COM was significantly higher in children with two Greenlandic born parents (3.07) than in children with only one Greenlandic born parent. A follow-up study after one year in Sisimiut revealed unchanged or aggravated middle ear disease in 56.8% of 82 children with middle ear pathology at the primary survey. Thus, OM persists as a major health problem among Greenlandic children, although the general socio-economic and medical conditions have improved during the last decades. Proposals are provided for increased otologic efforts.

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