Nasopharyngeal biofilm-producing otopathogens in children with nonsevere recurrent acute otitis media

Sara Torretta, Paola Marchisio, Lorenzo Drago, Elena Baggi, Elena De Vecchi, Werner Garavello, Erica Nazzari, Lorenzo Pignataro, Susanna Esposito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. Bacterial biofilms have been detected in biopsies of the adenoid and middle ear mucosa of otitis-prone children and children with chronic middle otitis media. However, the invasiveness of biopsy makes it unsuitable for routine clinical practice, especially in pediatrics. This study aimed to investigate nasopharyngeal biofilm-producing otopathogens (BPOs) of nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS) in children with a history of nonsevere recurrent acute otitis media (RAOM) and healthy controls.Study Design. A cross-sectional study with planned data collection.Setting. University of Milan.Subjects and Methods. Transoral NPS were taken from infants and children aged 10 months to 11 years with nonsevere RAOM or healthy controls without adenoid hypertrophy. Nasopharyngeal colonization by otopathogens was assessed by means of microbiological cultures and standard bacterial identification, as well as nasopharyngeal BPOs by means of spectrophotometric analysis.Results. The study involved 113 children (56.6% males; median age 40 months; range, 10-132 months): 58 with a history of nonsevere RAOM (51.3%) and 55 controls (48.7%). Otopathogens were significantly more frequently detected in the RAOM group (24/58, 41.4%) than in controls (8/55, 14.5%; P =.003); the main pathogens were respectively Haemophilus influenzae (12/24, 50.0%) and Streptococcus pyogenes (3/8, 37.5%). Nasopharyngeal BPOs were more frequently isolated in the RAOM group (17/58, 29.3%) than in controls (6/55, 10.9%; P =.02). H influenzae (12/17, 70.6%) was confirmed as the main pathogen in the RAOM group.Conclusion. The presence of nasopharyngeal BPOs is an important factor favoring RAOM; it is therefore useful investigating biofilms even in children with nonsevere recurrences of AOM without adenoid hypertrophy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)991-996
Number of pages6
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • biofilm
  • nasopharynx
  • otopathogens
  • recurrent acute otitis media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Surgery


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