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Acta Otolaryngol. 1997 Jul;117(4):578-84.

Recurrent acute otitis media: the significance of age at onset.

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Section of Epidemiology, National Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway.


In order to assess the relationship between recurrent acute otitis media (rAOM) and age at first acute otitis media (AOM) episode, a prospective cohort of 3754 Norwegian children born in 1992-1993 was followed from birth to 2 years. Recurrent acute otitis media was defined by the criterion of four or more episodes of AOM during a 12-month period. Approximately 5.4% of the children experienced rAOM before the age of 2. Furthermore, children whose first AOM episode occurred before the age of 9 months were at a significantly higher risk for developing rAOM compared to children whose first AOM episode was 10-12 months. In children who had the first ear infection during the first 9 months of life, one-quarter developed rAOM before the age of 2. Multiple logistic regression analysis adjusted for confounding showed that gender and a familial history of atopy were significantly associated with rAOM. In conclusion, the present study found an association between age at first AOM episode and the later subsequent AOM proneness. Additionally, both gender and a family history of atopy seemed to predispose towards otitis-proneness.

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