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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


BIAGIO, L; SWANEPOEL, D W; LAURENT, C  and  LUNDBERG, T. Paediatric otitis media at a primary healthcare clinic in South Africa. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2014, vol.104, n.6, pp.431-435. ISSN 2078-5135.

BACKGROUND: No published studies on the prevalence of paediatric otitis media at primary healthcare clinics (PHCs) in South Africa (SA) are available. OBJECTIVE: To examine the point prevalence of otitis media in a paediatric population in a PHC in Johannesburg, SA, using otomicroscopy. METHODS: A sample of 140 children aged 2 - 16 years (mean 6.4; 44.1% females) were recruited from patients attending the PHC. Otomicroscopy was completed for each of the participants' ears by a specialist otologist using a surgical microscope. RESULTS: Cerumen removal was necessary in 36.0% of participants (23.5% of ears). Otitis media with effusion was the most frequent diagnosis (16.5%). Chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM) was diagnosed in 6.6% of children and was the most common type of otitis media in participants aged 6 - 15 years. Acute otitis media was only diagnosed in the younger 2 - 5-year age group (1.7%). Otitis media was significantly more prevalent among younger (31.4%) than older children (16.7%). CONCLUSION: CSOM prevalence, as classified by the World Health Organization, was high. Consequently diagnosis, treatment and subsequent referral protocols may need to be reviewed to prevent CSOM complications.

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