To study the epidemiology of acute otitis media (AOM), especially the otitis-prone condition, during the pneumococcal conjugate vaccines 7 and 13 era.
Six hundred and fifteen children were prospectively managed from 6 to 36 months of life during a 10-year time frame (June 2006–June 2016). All clinical diagnoses of AOM were confirmed by tympanocentesis and bacterial culture of middle ear fluid.
By 1 year of age, 23% of the children experienced ≥1 episode of AOM; by 3 years of age, 60% had ≥1 episodes of AOM, and 24% had ≥3 episodes. The peak incidence occurred at 6 to 12 months of life. Multivariable analysis of demographic and environmental data revealed a significantly increased risk of AOM associated with male sex, non-Hispanic white race, family history of recurrent AOM, day care attendance, and early occurrence of AOM. Risk factors for stringently defined (tympanocentesis-confirmed) otitis proneness, in which children suffered at least 3 episodes of AOM in a 6-month period or at least 4 within a year, were male sex, day care attendance, and family history of AOM, whereas breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life was protective. Stringently defined otitis prone children were also likely to experience their first AOM episode at a younger age. The proportion of Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis causing AOM had dynamic changes during the past decade.
We conclude that the epidemiology but not the risk factors for AOM have undergone substantial changes since the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines.