To prospectively identify the bacterial aetiology and antimicrobial susceptibility of problematic (recurrent and treatment failure) acute otitis media in Spanish children several years after the introduction of 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.
Tympanocentesis or careful sampling of spontaneous otorrhoea was performed on children aged 3 to <36 months with recurrent acute otitis media, acute otitis media treatment failure or unresolved acute otitis media.
105 acute otitis media episodes (77 sampled by tympanocentesis, 28 otorrhoea samples) were evaluated: 46 recurrent, 35 treatment failures, 24 unresolved acute otitis media. 74 episodes (70.4%) had at least one bacterium identified on culture: Streptococcus pneumoniae was identified in 21 episodes, Haemophilus influenzae (all non-typeable) in 44, Streptococcus pyogenes in 2, Moraxella catarrhalis in 2. No statistically significant difference in bacterial aetiology by episode type was detected. Non-typeable H. influenzae was the most commonly isolated pathogen in all acute otitis media types and in all age sub-groups. Forty percent of S. pneumoniae isolates were multi-drug resistant. Pneumococcal serotype 19A was the most frequently identified serotype (7/21 episodes). Multi-drug resistance was found in 56% of 19A isolates. Of non-typeable H. influenzae isolates, 15% were ampicillin resistant and 13% were amoxicillin/clavulanate resistant. S. pneumoniae and non-typeable H. influenzae DNA were each detected in 57% of samples culture negative for these pathogens, including 12 co-infections.
Combining culture and polymerase chain reaction results, H. influenzae and S. pneumoniae may be implicated in 70% and 43% of clinically problematic bacterial acute otitis media episodes, respectively. The impact of new vaccines to prevent both S. pneumoniae and non-typeable H. influenzae acute otitis media may be substantial in this population and is worth investigating.