Pandemic Flu Vaccine May Help Reduce Otitis Media Risk

Daniel Weiss, Senior Editor
Published Online: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
A study found significantly reduced rates of all otitis media and otitis media with effusion in children who received the H1N1 pandemic flu vaccine.

Children who received the H1N1 pandemic influenza vaccine were significantly less likely to develop otitis media (OM), according to the results of a study published online on September 30, 2012, in the European Journal of Pediatrics.
 
The researchers conducted a randomized, prospective, single-blind study in healthy children in Turkey aged 6 to 60 months during the 2009-2010 H1N1 flu pandemic. The study included 46 participants (mean age 27.83 months) who received the H1N1 flu vaccine and 46 aged-matched, unvaccinated controls (mean age 28.26 months). Participants underwent otoscopic and tympanometric evaluation twice within a 4- to 8-week follow-up period.
 
In the vaccinated group, 6.5% of participants presented with acute otitis media (AOM), 23.9% presented with otitis media with effusion (OME), and 26.1% presented with any OM. In the unvaccinated group, 17.4% presented with AOM, 26.1% presented with OME, and 39.1% presented with any OM.
 
Based on multivariate analysis to calculate risk factors for OME, AOM, and OM, the researchers found that unvaccinated children had 2.9 times the risk for OME and OM compared with vaccinated children, a statistically significant result. Unvaccinated children also had 9.5 times the risk for AOM compared with vaccinated children, although this result was not statistically significant. Other factors associated with increased risk of developing OM included male gender and bottle feeding or using a pacifier.
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