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J Pediatr. 1995 Dec;127(6):875-80.

Prospective surveillance for otitis media with effusion among black infants in group child care.

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Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 27599-8180, USA.



To document the prevalence of otitis media with effusion (OME) in 102 black children observed prospectively between 6 and 24 months of age.


Study children attended nine different center-based child care facilities. Middle ear status was assessed by pneumatic otoscopy and tympanometry every 2 weeks.


All children, except one, had OME during the period of observation. The proportion of child-examinations revealing bilateral OME ranged from 76% between 6 and 12 months of age to 30% between 21 and 24 months of age. Effusions were considered purulent in only 13% of examinations revealing middle ear fluid. The mean incidence of purulent OME was 2.13 episodes per child per year. Sixty-six children had at least 4 months of continuous bilateral OME during the period of observation; 57 were followed without placement of tympanostomy tubes. Bilateral OME had resolved before the second birthday in 95% of these children, and within 3 months of achieving the 4-month criterion in 50% of subjects.


Persistent bilateral OME occurs commonly between 6 and 18 months of age in infants who enter group child care during the first year of life. In this study, spontaneous resolution of bilateral effusion by 2 years of age was typical.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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