BACKGROUND. No published studies on the prevalence of paediatric otitis media at primary healthcare clinics (PHCs) in South Africa (SA)
OBJECTIVE. To examine the point prevalence of otitis media in a paediatric population in a PHC in Johannesburg, SA, using otomicroscopy.
METHODS. A sample of 140 children aged 2 - 16 years (mean 6.4; 44.1% females) were recruited from patients attending the PHC.
Otomicroscopy was completed for each of the participants’ ears by a specialist otologist using a surgical microscope.
RESULTS. Cerumen removal was necessary in 36.0% of participants (23.5% of ears). Otitis media with effusion was the most frequent
diagnosis (16.5%). Chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM) was diagnosed in 6.6% of children and was the most common type of otitis
media in participants aged 6 - 15 years. Acute otitis media was only diagnosed in the younger 2 - 5-year age group (1.7%). Otitis media was
significantly more prevalent among younger (31.4%) than older children (16.7%).
CONCLUSION. CSOM prevalence, as classified by the World Health Organization, was high. Consequently diagnosis, treatment and
subsequent referral protocols may need to be reviewed to prevent CSOM complications.