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January 11, 1965

The Myth of Otomycosis

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Dermatology, University of Oregon Medical School, Portland, Ore.

JAMA. 1965;191(2):129. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080020057017

INFECTIONS of the ear with pathogenic fungi have something in common with the snakes of Ireland; there are none. Otomycosis is a misleading designation for a collection of skin diseases of the external ear which include psoriasis, contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, and infectious eczematoid dermatitis. The external auditory canal is a unique cul-de-sac lined by squamous epithelium. This pocket provides an ideal substrate for the growth of various saprophytic fungi which are incapable of producing disease. The most common is Asperigillus niger, which can grow in such profusion that a pure culture is grossly visible in the ear canal. Such growth does not provoke an inflammatory response.

The outer portion of the ear canal is lined by skin similar to that found in the scalp. It differs from scalp by having modified apocrine (ceruminous) glands, but it does have hair and sebaceous glands and is subject to diseases commonly seen

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