PITTSBURGH, July 11 -- Bacterial biofilms colonizing the middle ear - and not re-infections -- may be the cause of recurrent otitis media, according to investigators here.
Biofilms consist of aggregated bacteria, usually adherent to a surface, surrounded by an extracellular matrix, and have been implicated in several chronic bacterial infections. They are typically resistant to antibiotics.
Using a variety of techniques, the researchers found direct evidence of biofilms in the middle ears of 26 children who suffer from chronic ear infections, said Garth Ehrlich, Ph.D., of the Allegheny Singer Research Institute.
Middle ear tissue from a control group of unaffected children showed no sign of biofilms, Dr. Ehrlich and colleagues reported in the July 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.