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The microbiology of glue ear in Australian Aboriginal children


Associate Professor J Stuart, John Hunter Children's Hospital, Locked Bag 1, Hunter Region Mail Exchange, Newcastle, NSW 2310, Australia. Fax: +61 2 4921 3680; email:


Objective:  To study the bacterial cultures of middle ear aspirates from 27 Aboriginal children with otitis media with effusion.

Methods:  Standard bacteriological techniques were used to analyse the middle-ear aspirates collected during surgery to insert grommets in 27 Aboriginal children. Swabs of the tympanic membrane were taken for comparison.

Results:  Forty-five aspirates were collected from 59 myringotomies. Positive cultures were obtained from 19 of these (13 children) with potentially pathogenic organisms identified in 11 children including Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella, Achromobacter, Enterobacter and Corynebacterium.

Conclusion:  This is only the second study to look at the bacteria in middle ear effusions in Aboriginal children. Streptococcus pneumoniae was notable in its absence as was found in a previous study.