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Clin Microbiol Infect. 1997 Jun;3 Suppl 3:S13-S22.

Incidence and risk factors of acute otitis media in children.

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Department of Pediatrics, Institut Universitari Dexeus, Barcelona, Spain.


Acute otitis media (AOM) is the most common disease requiring antibiotic treatment in young children. This article reviews the incidence of AOM in different age groups of controlled populations, its incidence in pediatricians, consulting rooms and emergency services and the main circumstances that usually complicate the diagnosis (circumstances of examination, methods and devices used and pediatric skills). Host and environmental factors related to otitis- prone children are revisited. Sex predominance (males), ethnicity, birth order (second-born or siblings), early occurrence of infection (when earlier, worse), and sibling history of severe or recurrent ear infections are host factors related to recurrent otitis. Season (inconclusive), socio-economic status (inconclusive) smoke and air pollutants (clearly related), breast-feeding (clearly related, especially when prolonged) and type of day care (the greatest incidence in children in large day-care groups versus home-cared) are environmental factors related to recurrent otitis.

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