Early onset of otitis media is a strong predictor of subsequent disease in urban Aboriginal infants: Djaalinj Waakinj cohort study

Holly J. Richmond, Valerie M. Swift, June E. Doyle, Natasha R. Morrison, Sharon A. Weeks, Tamara Veselinović, Peter Jacoby, Christopher G. Brennan-Jones, Peter C. Richmond, Deborah Lehmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aim: Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children in rural/remote areas suffer high rates of persistent otitis media (OM) from early infancy. We aimed to determine the proportion of Aboriginal infants living in an urban area who have OM and investigate associated risk factors. Methods: Between 2017 and 2020, the Djaalinj Waakinj cohort study enrolled 125 Aboriginal infants at 0–12 weeks of age in the Perth South Metropolitan region, Western Australia. Proportion of children with OM based on tympanometry at ages 2, 6 and 12 months was evaluated, type B tympanogram indicating middle ear effusion. Potential risk factors were investigated by logistic regression with generalised estimating equations. Results: The proportion of children with OM was 35% (29/83) at 2 months, 49% (34/70) at 6 months and 49% (33/68) at 12 months of age. About 70% (16/23) of those with OM at ages 2 and/or 6 months had OM at 12 months compared with 20% (3/15) if no prior OM (relative risk = 3.48, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.22–40.1). On multivariate analysis, infants living in houses with ≥1 person/room were at increased risk of OM (odds ratio = 1.78, 95% CI: 0.96–3.32). Conclusion: Approximately half of Aboriginal infants enrolled into the South Metropolitan Perth project have OM by the age of 6 months and early onset of disease strongly predicts subsequent OM. Early surveillance for OM in urban areas is needed for early detection and management to reduce the risk of long-term hearing loss which can have serious developmental, social, behavioural, educational and economic consequences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-734
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Volume59
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2023

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