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Volume 45, Number 6, December 2012

Epidemiology of acute otitis media among young children: A multiple database study in Taiwan

Pei-Ju Ting, Ching-Heng Lin, Fang-Liang Huang, Ming-Chih Lin, Kao-Pin Hwang, Yhu-Chering Huang, Cheng-Hsun Chiu, Tzou-Yien Lin, Po-Yen Chen

Received: April 30, 2011    Revised: August 1, 2011    Accepted: August 31, 2011   


Corresponding author:
  • Department of Pediatrics, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
  • Corresponding Author InformationCorresponding author. Department of Pediatrics, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, No. 160, Section 3, Chung-Kang Road, Taichung 407, Taiwan, ROC.


Background and purpose: 

Acute otitis media (AOM) is a common complication of upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) among children. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the epidemiology of AOM among young children in Taiwan, including the age incidence and seasonality by combining multiple databases



Two country-based questionnaire survey studies had been conducted to evaluate the experience of otitis media (OM) among young children: one in 2007 and the other between 2005 and 2010. The number of OM cases (5% of population younger than 7 years) in 2005 and annual visiting rates for URTI from 2005 to 2010 obtained from the National Health Insurance Research Database of Taiwan were collected and comprised the third database. The fourth database comprised ambulatory visits of children with OM to a medical center in central Taiwan between 2005 and 2010.



Data from a total of 1099 questionnaires were entered into Database I in 2007, and data from 9705 questionnaires between 2005 and 2010 comprised Database II. There were 86,702 children (younger than 7 years, representing 5% of the whole population for this age group) retrieved from Database III in 2007, and 5,904 cases of OM in children between 2005 and 2010 in a hospital. In Database I, 7.46% children experienced at least one episode of AOM compared with 9.21% in Database II for children aged 5 years and younger. In Database III, 13.2% children younger than 7 years had AOM in 2005. The peak season of AOM among children was from March to May (Databases III and IV).



AOM was thought to be a very common disease among children; however, this comparative analysis showed that the overall prevalence of AOM among children younger than 5 years was only 20%, much lower than in other countries. AOM was more prevalent during the spring season, and still was similarly common after age 2 years.


Key words:

ChildrenEpidemiologyOtitis media