Eighty-two bacterial isolates recovered from the middle ear effusions (192) of children with otitis media with effusion (OME) were tested for antibiotic sensitivity. Nearly 50% of all bacteria isolated were found to be resistant to penicillin, and in particular, 61% of the Haemophilus isolates were penicillin-resistant; 48% of the Haemophilus isolates were ampicillin-resistant. In addition, we compared the bacterial recovery rate from effusions of patients who were receiving antibiotics with those who were not. Among patients who were receiving antibiotics, 33% of the effusions were culture positive, while 82% of the effusions were culture positive in the patients who were not given antibiotics. These results are discussed with respect to the possible role of bacteria in the pathogenesis of OME.
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