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Otitis media in young Aboriginal children from remote communities in Northern and Central Australia: a cross-sectional survey

Morris, Peter S., Leach, Amanda J., Silberberg, Peter, Mellon, Gabrielle, Wilson, Cate, Hamilton, Elizabeth M. and Beissbarth, Jemima (2005). Otitis media in young Aboriginal children from remote communities in Northern and Central Australia: a cross-sectional survey. BMC Pediatrics,5(1):27-36.

Document type: Journal Article
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Title Otitis media in young Aboriginal children from remote communities in Northern and Central Australia: a cross-sectional survey
Author Morris, Peter S.
Leach, Amanda J.
Silberberg, Peter
Mellon, Gabrielle
Wilson, Cate
Hamilton, Elizabeth M.
Beissbarth, Jemima
Journal Name BMC Pediatrics
Publication Date 2005
Volume Number 5
Issue Number 1
ISSN 1471-2431   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-26444581376
Start Page 27
End Page 36
Total Pages 10
Place of Publication United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central Ltd.
Abstract Background
Middle ear disease (otitis media) is common and frequently severe in Australian Aboriginal children. There have not been any recent large-scale surveys using clear definitions and a standardised middle ear assessment. The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of middle ear disease (otitis media) in a high-risk population of young Aboriginal children from remote communities in Northern and Central Australia.

Methods

709 Aboriginal children aged 6–30 months living in 29 communities from 4 health regions participated in the study between May and November 2001. Otitis media (OM) and perforation of the tympanic membrane (TM) were diagnosed by tympanometry, pneumatic otoscopy, and video-otoscopy. We used otoscopic criteria (bulging TM or recent perforation) to diagnose acute otitis media.

Results
914 children were eligible to participate in the study and 709 were assessed (78%). Otitis media affected nearly all children (91%, 95%CI 88, 94). Overall prevalence estimates adjusted for clustering by community were: 10% (95%CI 8, 12) for unilateral otitis media with effusion (OME); 31% (95%CI 27, 34) for bilateral OME; 26% (95%CI 23, 30) for acute otitis media without perforation (AOM/woP); 7% (95%CI 4, 9) for AOM with perforation (AOM/wiP); 2% (95%CI 1, 3) for dry perforation; and 15% (95%CI 11, 19) for chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM). The perforation prevalence ranged from 0–60% between communities and from 19–33% between regions. Perforations of the tympanic membrane affected 40% of children in their first 18 months of life. These were not always persistent.

Conclusion

Overall, 1 in every 2 children examined had otoscopic signs consistent with suppurative ear disease and 1 in 4 children had a perforated tympanic membrane. Some of the children with intact tympanic membranes had experienced a perforation that healed before the survey. In this high-risk population, high rates of tympanic perforation were associated with high rates of bulging of the tympanic membrane.

Keywords middle ear disease (otitis media)
Australian Aboriginal children
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2431-5-27   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)


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