Bacterial otitis media: a vaccine preventable disease?Vaccine. 2005 Mar 18; 23(17-18):2304-10.V
Otitis media (OM) is the most common childhood illness for which medical advice is sought. Whilst the disease rarely results in death, there is a significant level of morbidity and economic burden on the community. Although the causes of OM are multifactoral, bacterial and viral infections are the single most important cause. Bacteria responsible for infections of the middle ear are predominantly, nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Moraxella catarrhalis. Antibiotics have been widely used to treat children who present to a medical clinic with OM. However, given the high prevalence of this disease and the increasing incidence of microbial resistance to antibiotics, there is a need to develop alternative therapeutic strategies such as vaccination. Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination has produced disappointing results for effectiveness in preventing OM and there is evidence of an increased incidence of disease due to non-vaccine serotypes. An efficacious vaccine for bacterial OM would require combining protective protein antigens from all three causative bacteria. A combined bacterial-viral vaccine formulation would produce the most profound and sustained impact on reducing the global incidence of OM.