ALTHOUGH acute otitis media is the third most common illness seen by pediatricians,1 its occurrence in adults is less frequent. Despite an NDTI (National Disease and Therapeutic Index) survey that found that there are almost 4 million visits by adults yearly to private physicians for this infection,2 there is an absence of reports on acute otitis media in adults.
The microbial flora of acute otitis media in children has been studied by numerous investigators. Streptococcus pneumoniae has been cultured from the middle ear in as many as 50% of the cases of acute otitis media, while Haemophilus influenzae has been cultured in as many as 27% of cases.3 Despite the reported high carriage rates of H influenzae in the nose, nasopharynx, and oropharynx of healthy adults,4 the incidence of Hinfluenzae isolation from the middle ears of adults with acute otitis media is unknown. Although Schwartz
Dudley JP, Ament ME. Haemophilus influenzae From the Middle Ear of an Adult With Acute Otitis Media. JAMA. 1980;243(22):2328-2329. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300480048027