Chlamydia pneumoniae in acute otitis media

Stan L. Block, Margaret R. Hammerschlag, James Hedrick, Ron Tyler, Alan Smith, Patricia Roblin, Charlotte Gaydos, Dien Pham, Thomas C. Quinn, Robert Palmer, James Mccarty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Background. Aerobic bacterial pathogens are recovered from 65 to 85% of patients with acute otitis media (AOM). Although Chlamydia pneumoniae is a common pathogen of pediatric pneumonia, it has rarely been cultured from children with chronic otitis media and its role in AOM is unknown. Methods. We cultured for C. pneumoniae in tympanocentesis aspirates and nasopharyngeal swabs from 101 consecutive, otherwise healthy children with AOM or refractory AOM. A control group of 50 similarly aged, healthy children was evaluated for nasopharyngeal carriage of C. pneumoniae. Specimens were also evaluated by PCR for C. pneumoniae. Results. C. pneumoniae was recovered by tympanocentesis in 8 (8%) of 101 children with AOM. Among the 8 children with C. pneumoniae-positive AOM, 5 had C. pneumoniae detected by PCR in middle ear fluid, none had C. pneumoniae recovered by nasopharyngeal culture or PCR and 5 were younger than 16 months. C. pneumoniae was the sole pathogen isolated in 2 patients. Copathogens included beta-lactamase-positive Haemophilus influenzae (2), beta-lactamase positive Moraxella catarrhalis (1), penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae (2) and penicillin-susceptible S. Pneumoniae (1). C. pneumoniae was recovered from nasopharyngeal culture in 2 additional patients with C. pneumoniae-negative AOM and in none of 50 healthy control children, although 2 controls were positive by PCR from the nasopharynx. Conclusions. This is the first study to report the isolation of C. pneumoniae in middle ear fluid of children with AOM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)858-862
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1997


  • Acute otitis media
  • Children
  • Chlamydia pneumoniae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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