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April 1958

Chronic Otitis Media and Mastoiditis Due to Proteus Vulgaris (Bacillus Proteus)

Author Affiliations

Danville, Va.; Charlottesville, Va.
From the Department of Otolaryngology, University of Virginia Hospital.

AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1958;67(4):403-409. doi:10.1001/archotol.1958.00730010413004

The management of temporal bone infections due to Proteus vulgaris (Bacillus proteus) continues to be a perplexing problem in otology. The success of antiobiotic therapy in treating most infections of the ear is often not evident when this organism is involved. In fact our concern with P. vulgaris has not materially changed since the report1 made in 1936. This situation is illustrated by four cases in which the usually ubiquitous saprophytic Proteus, flourishing in the confined space of a chronic otitis media extended centrally to produce a fatal intracranial complication.

These cases warrant discussion for a number of reasons. Chronic otitis media is one of the major problems in otology. When P. vulgaris is implicated, because of its insidious nature, the disease becomes more complex. Also there appears to be an increased incidence of Proteus found in routine cultures of all sorts in recent years, perhaps because bacteriologists are

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