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Bacteria and Viruses Cohabitate in Ears of Kids With Otitis Media

Bacteria and Viruses Cohabitate in Ears of Kids With Otitis Media

TURKU, Finland, Nov. 7 -- Most children with acute otitis media have infections caused by both bacteria and viruses, suggesting that antibiotics may not be enough to control the infections, researchers here have found.

When the investigators drew middle ear fluid through tympanostomy tubes in children with new-onset acute otitis media with effusion, they found that 96% of the samples contained at least one respiratory pathogen, and two-thirds contained both bacteria and viruses, reported Aino Ruohola, M.D., Ph.D., of Turku University Hospital, and colleagues.

"The clinical impact of coinfections of the middle ear is based on observations that bacterial eradication and clinical outcomes are poorer in coinfections than in solely bacterial infections," the investigators wrote in the Dec. 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Viral coinfections may exacerbate the inflammation that is a hallmark of acute otitis media, and may also interfere with the efficacy of antimicrobial therapies, the authors suggested.

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