Dutch Study: Earlier Onset of Acute Otitis Media Associated with More Frequent Recurrence

October 21, 2016

UTRECHT, NETHERLANDS — If a child’s first ear infection occurs at a young age, particularly before 9 months, the chances for recurrent acute otitis media (AOM) infection are increased, according to a new Dutch study.

The findings were published last month in the Journal of Pediatrics


Identifying Children at Risk for Recurrent AOM


Dutch children enrolled in the Wheezing-Illnesses-STudy-LEidsche-Rijn (WHISTLER) study cohort, that had experienced at least 1 episode of AOM before the age of 2, were observed for the study. The children were then followed until age 6. Data on the number AOM episodes were collected, as well as related primary care consultations, antibiotic prescriptions, and specialist referrals. 

An association was observed between each 1-month decrease in the age of the child’s first AOM episode and an increase in the risk for multiple AOM recurrences (multiple recurrences was defined as at least three episodes in a 6 month period or at least 4 AOM episodes in one year). Similar trends were also observed for the risk of specialist referral and AOM related events that required primary care consultation. 

In an article on the study, lead author and assistant professor in the Julius Center for Health Science and Primary Care at University Medical Center, Marieke L.A. de Hoog, PhD, and her colleagues were quoted:


“On the basis of our findings, children experiencing a first AOM at younger than 9 month of age can be considered high risk, and a more tailored management approach may be appropriate for these children. Future research is needed to establish whether such tailored AOM management of early-life AOM or other novel preventive strategies provide benefit over care as usual.” 




*featured image courtesy wired

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