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The microbiome of otitis media with effusion in Indigenous Australian children

Jervis-Brady, Jake, Rogers, Geraint B., Morris, Peter S., Smith-Vaughan, Heidi C., Nosworthy, Elizabeth, Leong, Lex E. X., Smith, Renee J., Weyriche, Laura S., De Haan, Jacques, Carney, A. Simon, Leach, Amanda J., O'Leary, Stephen and Marsh, Robyn L. (2015). The microbiome of otitis media with effusion in Indigenous Australian children. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology,79(9):1548-1555.

Document type: Journal Article
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IRMA ID 11381xPUB140
Title The microbiome of otitis media with effusion in Indigenous Australian children
Author Jervis-Brady, Jake
Rogers, Geraint B.
Morris, Peter S.
Smith-Vaughan, Heidi C.
Nosworthy, Elizabeth
Leong, Lex E. X.
Smith, Renee J.
Weyriche, Laura S.
De Haan, Jacques
Carney, A. Simon
Leach, Amanda J.
O'Leary, Stephen
Marsh, Robyn L.
Journal Name International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Publication Date 2015
Volume Number 79
Issue Number 9
ISSN 0165-5876   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-84938993476
Start Page 1548
End Page 1555
Total Pages 8
Place of Publication United Kingdom
Publisher Elsevier Ltd
Field of Research 111701 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract Introduction
Indigenous Australian children have a high prevalence of otitis media with effusion (OME) and associated conductive hearing loss. Only three microbiological studies of middle ear fluid (MEF) from Indigenous Australian children with OME have been reported. All of these were reliant on culture or species-specific PCR assays. The aim of this study was to characterise the middle ear fluid (MEF), adenoid and nasopharyngeal (NP) microbiomes of Indigenous Australian children, using culture-independent 16S rRNA gene sequencing.


MEF, NP swabs and adenoid specimens were collected from 11 children in the Alice Springs region of Central Australia. Bacterial communities in these specimens were characterised using 16S rRNA gene sequencing.


The microbiota in MEF samples were dominated (>50% relative abundance) by operational taxonomic units (OTUs) consistent with Alloiococcus otitidis (6/11), Haemophilus influenzae (3/11) or Streptococcus sp. (specifically, Mitis group streptococci which includes Streptococcus pneumoniae) (1/11). Anatomical site selectivity was indicated by the presence of a single conserved Haemophilus OTU in 7/11 MEF samples. In comparison, there were ten distinct Haemophilus OTUs observed across the NP and adenoid samples. Despite significant differences between the MEF and NP/adenoid microbiomes, Streptococcus sp., H. influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis OTUs were common to all sample types. Co-occurrence of classical otopathogens in paired MEF and NP/Adenoid samples is consistent with earlier culture-based studies.


These data highlight the need to further assess H. influenzae traits important in otitis media and to understand the role of canal flora, especially A. otitidis, in populations with a high prevalence of tympanic membrane perforation.
Keywords Otitis media
Middle ear effusion
16S ribosomal RNA
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