Pathogens isolated during treatment failures in otitis

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A prospective study in the Paris region to evaluate the clinical and bacteriologic epidemiology of acute otitis media in infants in whom oral antibiotic therapy resulted in clinical failure.


The study included 186 children with a mean age of 17.5 ± 13.1 months. Two-thirds of them attended a day-care center and 40.8% had a history of recurrent otitis media. The most frequently prescribed prior antibiotics were amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (43% of cases), an oral third generation cephalosporin (22.6%), erythromycin-sulfisoxazole (11.8%) and a first generation cephalosporin (10.2%). The average duration of antibiotic therapy was 6.9 ± 2.65 days. Specimens for bacterial cultures included 188 samples of middle ear fluid obtained by tympanocentesis and 37 collected from otorrhea fluid.


One hundred forty-one samples (62.7%) from 126 children yielded 170 bacterial isolates. In 60 children (32.3%) the culture of the ear pus was sterile. Among the 170 bacterial isolates: 67 (39.4%) were Streptococcus pneumoniae (59 patients), of which 77.6% had reduced susceptibility to penicillin (PRSP with penicillin MIC ≥ 0.125 mg/l); 61 (35.9%) were Haemophilus influenzae (56 patients) of which 49.2% were beta-lactamase producers; and 8 were Moraxella catarrhalis (8 patients), of which 87.5% were beta-lactamase producers. Thirty-six patients were infected by S. pneumoniae with penicillin MIC ≥ 1 mg/l. In our study attending day-care center (P = 0.04), temperature >38°C with signs of otalgia (P = 0.02), age <2 years (P = 0.048) and prior antibiotic treatment with erythromycin-sulfisoxazole (P = 0.006) were independently predictive risk factors for patients infected with penicillin-resistant S. pneumoniae. Pneumococcal serogroups 23, 14 and 19 were predominant (25.4, 25.4 and 23.8%, respectively). Penicillin resistance was mainly associated with serogroups 23 and 14.


Penicillin-resistant S. pneumoniae isolates are frequently responsible for therapeutic failure in cases of acute otitis media in the Paris region.

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