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Medicineworld.org: Most Ear Infections Host Both Bacteria And Viruses

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Most Ear Infections Host Both Bacteria And Viruses

Most Ear Infections Host Both Bacteria And Viruses
Ear infections are among the most common diseases seen in pediatric practice. They have generally been considered bacterial diseases and are therefore commonly treated with antibiotics. New research, reported in the December 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases and currently available online, provides evidence that viruses are found in a great a number of ear infection cases and may complicate therapy.

The scientists used a variety of laboratory techniques to identify the pathogen that caused ear infections, known clinically as acute otitis media (AOM), in 79 young children. They found bacteria in 92 percent of the cases, viruses in 70 percent, and both bacteria and viruses in 66 percent.

As per Aino Ruohola, MD, PhD, from the Turku University Hospital in Finland and lead author of the study, "the major finding of the study is that acute otitis media is a coinfection of bacteria and viruses in the great majority of children. This is actually logical since acute otitis media is virtually always connected to viral respiratory infection".

Antibiotics, which are effective against the bacteria that cause AOM, have no effect on the viruses found in AOM infections. Therefore, the standard therapy for AOM--antibiotics--can be, at best, partially effective in the majority of cases. "Based on this and prior research," said Dr. Ruohola, "it is possible that viruses cause a considerable proportion of clinical therapy failures. Thus, in these cases a new antibiotic is not necessarily the best choice eventhough bacteria resistant to common antibiotics are wide-spread."

The good news is that a number of cases of AOM recover spontaneously without antibiotic therapy, a fact that has led the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians to recommend withholding antibiotic therapy in mild AOM cases.


Posted by: Sue    Source




Did you know?
Ear infections are among the most common diseases seen in pediatric practice. They have generally been considered bacterial diseases and are therefore commonly treated with antibiotics. New research, reported in the December 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases and currently available online, provides evidence that viruses are found in a great a number of ear infection cases and may complicate therapy.

Medicineworld.org: Most Ear Infections Host Both Bacteria And Viruses

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