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Am J Public Health. 1980 Jun;70(6):593-8.

Epidemiology of otitis media: a community study.


A community study of the incidence of clinically diagnosed otitis media and middle ear effusions was undertaken in the City of Galveston, Texas, based on a random sample of records of patients aged 0-8 years receiving medical care from four major sources during 1975. No overall sex or ethnic differences were observed in association with otitis media. Thirty-five per cent of the sample had at least one episode of otitis media during 1975 and, of these, one-third had two or more episodes, yielding a conservative annual incidence rate of 55.1 per cent for this age group. The overall age-specific incidence pattern indicated the highest rates for the 0-2 year age group (71 to 114 episodes per 100 children) with a steady decline in risk with increasing age. Infants who received an initial diagnosis within the first 12 months of life experienced significantly more episodes of otitis during a two-year period than did children who received an initial diagnosis after one year of age. Seasonal patterns of otitis media were comparable with those reported in other studies. Analysis by birth month of children who experienced repeated episodes of otitis indicated an increased number of children born in the late summer and fall.

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