ALTHOUGH it has been variously estimated that otitis externa constitutes from 5 to 40 per cent of all cases encountered in otologic practice in the United States1—the wide variation being due to sectional differences in temperature and humidity—renewed interest in infection of the external auditory canal is essentially a by-product of the war years. This situation is the result of the high incidence and widespread distribution of otitis externa among military personnel in humid tropical and subtropical regions. While the causative agent of otitis externa can be any one of a variety of bacteria and fungi, it is quite probable that the role of the latter, whether as primary or secondary agents of infection, has been exaggerated.2
The normal human skin harbors an enormous number of bacteria, which ordinarily are harmless. According to Price,3 these may be divided into a resident and a transient population, the
FABRICANT ND, PERLSTEIN MA. pH OF THE CUTANEOUS SURFACE OF THE EXTERNAL AUDITORY CANAL: A Study of Twenty-Seven Infants, Forty-Four Children and Sixty Adults. Arch Otolaryngol. 1949;49(2):201–209. doi:10.1001/archotol.1949.03760080079007
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