Determining the variety of bacteria present in disease of the ear is an aid to prognosis and warns us of possible complications. Single infections are usually acute, while mixed infections are apt to become chronic. There are very few cases of sinus thrombosis reported as due to pneumococci, but streptococcus sinus thrombosis is of common occurrence. Streptococci also frequently cause brain abscess and may involve important structures by necrosis, or may cause a fatal septicema. Hence, it is important to know whether these organisms are present. Streptococci and pneumococci appear to be the most frequent cause of otitis and mastoiditis. Staphylococci are found in a large percentage of chronic cases, seldom in pure culture.
Most investigators do not consider infection with staphylococci likely to be serious, but operation is necessary in about half the cases of infection with Streptococcus pyogenes or Streptococcus mucosus. If meningococci are found we know the
HUDSON JB. THE BACTERIOLOGY OF THE EAR. JAMA. 1911;LVII(17):1363–1367. doi:10.1001/jama.1911.04260100189011
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