Conclusions. Our results suggest that various respiratory viruses contribute to the pathogenesis of acute otitis media (AOM). Objective. AOM is one of the most common complications of viral upper respiratory tract infections in children. Recently, the importance of respiratory viruses has been stressed as causative agents of AOM. Subjects and methods. A total of 1092 children ≤10 years old (average age 1.38 years) diagnosed as having AOM between 2002 and 2004 were studied. Bacterial and viral cultures of both nasopharyngeal secretions (NPS) and middle ear fluid (MEF) were performed for all 1092 children. Body temperature, changes of the tympanic membrane, and the number of days from the onset of illness were analyzed. Results. Respiratory viruses were detected in 360 of 1092 NPS specimens, including 157 isolates of respiratory syncytial virus and 88 of influenza virus. Among 1092 MEF specimens, 102 were virus-positive, including 43 for respiratory syncytial virus and 29 for influenza virus. In 75 children, respiratory viruses were only detected in MEF. The viral detection rate was higher in children with fever at an early stage of their illness. The tympanic membrane changes associated with viral infection tended to be less severe, while changes were more severe in cases with bacterial infection, especially co-infection with bacteria and viruses.
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