n South African Medical Journal - Paediatric otitis media at a primary healthcare clinic in South Africa : research




No published studies on the prevalence of paediatric otitis media at primary healthcare clinics (PHCs) in South Africa (SA) are available.

To examine the point prevalence of otitis media in a paediatric population in a PHC in Johannesburg, SA, using otomicroscopy.
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.
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%).
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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