Influenza vaccination and prevention of otitis media - Tips From Other Journals

Date: August, 1991

More than 80 percent of children in the United States have at least one attack of acute otitis media by the time they reach three years of age. Trials of vaccination against Streptococcus pneumoniae, the bacterial agent most commonly implicated, e been ineffective. Acute otitis media is often preceded by a viral respiratory infection. The principal viruses that predispose children to acute otitis media include influenza A virus, respiratory syncytial virus, rhinovirus and adenovirus. Heikkinen and colleagues performed a case-control study to evaluate the efficacy of influenza A vaccine in the prevention of acute otitis media in children.

The study included 187 children aged one to three years who attended 11 day care centers in Finland. Before the influenza A epidemic of 1988-1989, influenza vaccine (0.25 mL) was administered intravenously to each child, and a repeat vaccination was administered after three weeks. The control group consisted of 187 children of similar age and background who were randomly selected from other day care centers and did not receive the vaccine. The mean age of the children in both groups was 2.2 years. Most of the children in each group had a history of at least two attacks of acute otitis media.

During the six-week study period, influenza A infection was diagnosed in five (3 percent) of the children who received the vaccine. Acute otitis media developed in three of these children. In the 187 children who did not receive the vaccine, influenza A was diagnosed in 29 (16 percent), of whom 18 developed acute otitis media. The incidence of acute otitis media associated with influenza A was reduced by 83 percent in the children who received the vaccine. No serious adverse reactions to the vaccine were reported.

The study findings suggest that vaccination against influenza A virus considerably decreases the incidence of acute otitis media in children during an epidemic of influenza A. Administration of other vaccines against respiratory viruses may also reduce the incidence of acute otitis media. (American Journal of Diseases of Children, April 1991, vol. 145, p. 445.)

COPYRIGHT 1991 American Academy of Family PhysiciansCOPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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