Since micro-organisms causing primary otitis media presumably enter the ear from the throat, the inference is that cultures from the respiratory tract will enable a prediction of the organism in the ear. Perhaps too much reliance is placed on the use of antibiotics in the treatment of upper respiratory infections and coincident otitis media, so that myringotomy is done less often than previously. However, aspiration and drainage of the ear are frequently necessary for adequate treatment and avoidance of complications.1-4
The external ear and the eardrum may yield a variety of bacteria, often Gramnegative rods, so cultures from chronic ear infections or from draining ears would not be expected to parallel the organisms of the upper respiratory tract.
In many cases of primary otitis media, particularly in children, throat or nose swabs as well as exudate from the ear have been received for bacteriological examination in the Bacteriology Diagnostic
JONES M. Comparison of Bacteria from Ear and Upper Respiratory Tract in Otitis Media. Arch Otolaryngol. 1960;72(3):329–332. doi:10.1001/archotol.1960.00740010337007
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