April 1991

Influenza Vaccination in the Prevention of Acute Otitis Media in Children

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics (Drs Heikkinen, Ruuskanen, and Arola) and Virology (Drs Ziegler and Halonen and Mr Waris), University of Turku (Finland).

Am J Dis Child. 1991;145(4):445-448. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1991.02160040103017

• We studied a new approach to the prevention of acute otitis media through the administration of influenza vaccine to 187 day-care center children aged 1 to 3 years before the influenza A epidemic of 1988-1989. The control group consisted of 187 unvaccinated children of similar age and background. During the 6-week study period, influenza A infection was diagnosed in five (3%) of 187 vaccines and in 29 (16%) of 187 controls. Acute otitis media developed in three (60%) of five vaccines with an influenza A infection compared with 18 (67%) of 27 controls (excluded were two children with a double viral infection). The incidence of acute otitis media associated with influenza A was reduced by 83% in the vaccines. The total number of children with acute otitis media in the vaccine group was 35, compared with 55 in the control group, disclosing a 36% reduction among the vaccinees. We conclude that influenza vaccination decreases the incidence of acute otitis media in children during an influenza A epidemic, suggesting also that other vaccines against respiratory viruses may be an effective way to reduce the incidence of acute otitis media.

(AJDC. 1991;145:445-448)