Otitis Media in Children: Review Article


Otitis media is one of the most common infectious diseases of childhood. It is not uncommon for clinicians to miss the diagnosis of the acute form especially in younger children. Late and missed diagnoses result in poor management and increased risk of complications. This review highlights the epidemiology, presenting features, diagnosis, treatment and complications of otitis media.

Share and Cite:

Ilechukwu, G. , Ilechukwu, C. , Ubesie, A. , Ojinnaka, C. , Emechebe, G. and Iloh, K. (2014) Otitis Media in Children: Review Article. Open Journal of Pediatrics, 4, 47-53. doi: 10.4236/ojped.2014.41006.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Ibekwe, A.O. (1999) Common Ear, Nose and Throat disorders. In: Azubuike, J.C. and Nkanginieme, K.E.O., Eds., Paediatrics and Child Health in a Tropical Region, African Educational Services, Owerri, 546-545.
[2] Berman, S., Johnson, C., Chan, K., Kelley, P. (2001) Ear, Nose and Throat. In: Hay, W.W., Hayward, A.R., Levin, M.J., Sondheimer, J.M., Eds., Current Pediatric Diagnosis and Treatment, McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., New York, 400-410.
[3] Kline, M.W. (1999) Otitis Media. In: McMillan, J.A, DeAngelis, C.D., Feigin, R.D., Warshaw, J.B., Eds. Oski’s Pediatrics. Principles and Practice. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, 1302-1304.
[4] Chayarpham, S., Stuart, J., Chongsuvivatwong, V., Chinpairoj, S. and Lim, A. (1996) A Study of the Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Ear Diseases and Hearing Loss in Primary School Children in Hat Yai, Thailand. Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, 79, 468-472.
[5] Adeleke, S.I. (2003) Bacteriology of Ear Discharges in Children Attending Paediatric Out-Patient Department of Ahmadu Bello UniversityTeaching Hospital, Zaria. A Dissertation in Part Fulfillment of the Part II Finals of the West African Postgraduate Medical College.
[6] Amusa, Y.B., Ijadunola, I.K.T. and Onayade, O.O. (2005) Epidemiology of Otitis Media in a Local Tropical African Population. West African Journal of Medicine, 24, 227-230.
[7] Bluestone, C.D. and Klein, J.O. (1990) Otitis Media, Atelectasis, and Eustachian tube Dysfunction. In: Bluestone, C.D., Stool, S.E. and Scheetz, M.D., Eds., Pediatric Otolaryngology, W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, 320-486.
[8] Oni, A.A., Bakare, R.A., Nwaorgu, O.G.B., Ogunkunle, M.O. and Toki, RA. (2001) Bacterial Agents of Discharging Ears and Antimicrobial Sensitivity Patterns in Children in Ibadan, Nigeria. West African Journal of Medicine, 20, 131-135.
[9] Coker, O.A., Ijaduola, G.T. and Odugbemi, T.O. (1982) Bacterial Isolates from Chronic Discharging Ears in Nigerian Children. Nigerian Medical Practitioner, 4, 170-174.
[10] Ibekwe, A.O. and Okafor, J.I. (1983) Pathogenic Organisms in Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media in Enugu, Nigeria. Tropical and Geographical Medicine, 35, 389-391.
[11] Ako-Nai, A.K., Oluga, F.A., Onipede, A.O., Adejuyigbe, E.A. and Amusa, Y.B. (2003) The Characterization of Bacterial Isolates from Acute Otitis Media in Ile-Ife, Southwestern Nigeria. Journal of Tropical Pediatrics, 48, 15-23. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/tropej/48.1.15
[12] Koufman, J.A. (1990) Core Otolaryngology. J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, 69-84.
[13] Garcia, V.C., Galve, R.F., Penascal, P.E., Rubio, S.F., Olmedillas, A.M.J. (1997) Acute Otitis Media in the First Year of Life and Its Relationship with Various Risk Factors. Anales de Pediatría, 47, 473-477.
[14] Paradise, J.L. (2004) Otitis Media. In: Behrman, R.E., Kliegman, R.M., Jenson, H.B., Eds., Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 17th Edition, Saunders, Philadelphia, 2138-2149.
[15] Daly, K.A., Rich, S.S., Levine, S., Margolis, R.H., Le, C.T., Lindgren, B and Giebink, G.S. (1996) The Family Study of Otitis Media: Design and Disease and Risk Factor Profiles. Genetic Epidemiology, 13, 451-468. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1098-2272(1996)13:5<451::AID-GEPI2>3.0.CO;2-5
[16] Collet, J.P., Larson, C.P., Boivin, J.F., Suissa, S. and Pless, I.B. (1995) Parental Smoking and Risk of Otitis Media in Pre-School Children. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 86, 269-273.
[17] Uhari, M., Mantysaari, K. and Niemela, M. (1996) A Meta-Analytic Review of the Risk Factors for Acute Otitis Media. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 22, 1079-1083. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/clinids/22.6.1079
[18] Sassen, M.L., Brand, H. and Grote, J.J. (1997) Risk Factors for Otitis Media with Effusion in Children 0 to 2 Years of Age. American Journal of Otolaryngology, 18, 324-330. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ S0196-0709(97)90027-2
[19] Uhari, M., Hietala, J. and Tuokko, H. (1995) Risk of Acute Otitis Media in Relation to the Viral Iology of Infections in Children. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 20, 521-524. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/clinids/ 20.3.521
[20] Kvaerner, K.J., Nafstad, P., Hagen, J.A., Mair, I.W. and Jaakkola, J.J. (1996) Early Acute Otitis Media and Siblings’ Attendance at Nursery. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 75, 338-341.
[21] Uwaezuoke, S.N., Ilechukwu, G.C. and Onwasigwe, C.N. (2005) Risk Factors for Acute Otitis Media in Nigerian Infants. Orient Journal of Medicine, 17, 18-22.
[22] Stenstrom, C. and Ingvarsson, L. (1997) Otitis-Prone Children and Controls: A Study of Possible Predisposing Factors. 1. Heredity, Family Background and Perinatal Period. Acta Oto-Laryngologica, 117, 87-93. http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/00016489709117997
[23] Bernstein JM. (1996) Role of Allergy in Eustachian Tube Blockage and Otitis Media with Effusion: A Review. Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, 114, 562-568. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0194-5998(96)70247-4
[24] Juntti, H., Tikkanen, S., Kokkonen, J., Alho, O.P. and Niinimaki, A. (1999) Cow’s Milk Allergy Is Associated with Recurrent Otitis Media during Childhood. Acta Oto-laryngologica, 119, 867-873.
[25] Kvaerner, K.J., Nafstad, P., Hagen, J.A., Mair, I.W. and Jaakkola, J.J. (1997) Recurrent Acute Otitis Media: The Significance of Age of Onset. Acta Oto-laryngologica, 117, 578-585.
[26] Ibeziako, N.S. (1999) Common Bacterial Infections. In: Azubuike, J.C. and Nkanginieme, K.E.O., Eds., Paediatrics and Childhealth in a Tropical Region. African Educational Services, Owerri, 410-425.
[27] Obiakor, M.N. (2002) Diseases of The Ear, Nose and Throat. Ochumba Press Ltd., Enugu, 55-86.
[28] Uhari, M., Niemela, M. and Heitala, J. (1995) Prediction of Acute Otitis Media with Symptoms and Signs. Acta Paediatrica, 84, 90-92. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1651-2227.1995.tb13493.x
[29] Mills, R.P. (1997) Management of Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media. In: Kerr, G.A. and Booth, J.B., Eds., ScottBrown’s Otolaryngology, 3rd Edition, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 1-11.
[30] Weiss, J.C., Yates, G.R. and Quinn, L.D. (1996) Acute Otitis Media: Making an Accurate Diagnosis. American Family Physician, 54, 1212-1216.
[31] Rosenfeld, R.M. (1996) An Evidence-Based Approach to Treating Otitis Media. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 43, 1165-1181. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0031-3955(05)70512-5
[32] Browing, G.G. (1990) Childhood Otalgia: Acute Otitis Media. Antibiotics Not Necessary in Most Cases. British Medical Journal, 300, 1005-1006. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.300.6730.1005
[33] Mar, C.D., Glasziou, P. and Hayem, M. (1997) Are Antibiotics Indicated as Initial Treatment Forchildren with Acute Otitis Media? British Medical Journal, 314, 1526-1529. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj. 314.7093.1526
[34] Bain, J. (1990) Childhood Otalgia: Acute Otitis Media. Justification for Antibiotic Use in General Practice. British Medical Journal, 300, 1006-1007. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.300.6730.1006
[35] Alho, O.P., Laara, E. and Oja, H. (1996) What Is the Natural History of Recurrent Acute Otitis Media in Infancy? The Journal of Family Practice, 43, 258-264.
[36] Maw, A.R. (1987) Is Your Grommet Really Necessary? Archives of Disease in Childhood, 62, 656-658. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/adc.62.7.656
[37] Dhingra, P.L. (2004) Disorders of Middle Ear. In: Dhingra, P.L., Ed., Diseases of Ear, Nose and Throat, 3rd Edition, Elsevier, New Delhi, 80-112.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.