OBJECTIVE : To describe the prevalence and risk factors of recurrent otitis media (rOM)
in an urban Australian population at 3 years of age.
METHODS : Cross-sectional examination of prevalence and risk factors of rOM in 2280
participants from the Raine Study enrolled from public and private hospitals in Perth,
Western Australia, between 1989 and 1991. Parental report questionnaires at 3 years of age were used for rOM identification, with secondary confirmation by otoscopic
examination at 1, 2 or 3 years of age.
RESULTS : The prevalence of parent-reported rOM was 26.8% (611/2280) and 5.5%
(125/2280) for severe rOM in the Study. Independent associations were found between
rOM and the presence of older siblings, attendance at day care, and the introduction of
other milk products at ≤4 months of age. Independent associations for severe rOM were
the presence of allergies and attendance at day care.
CONCLUSIONS : Prevalence rates of rOM within the Raine Study children are similar to a
number of other known cohorts. Parity, presence of allergies, attendance at day care and
introduction of other milk products at ≤4 months are highlighted as specific risk factors
for rOM in this population and presence of allergies and attendance at day care being
risk factors for severe rOM. Diagnosis of rOM by parent report and the delay between
data collection and reporting are limitations of this study. However, as there is very
limited published information on OM in urban, non-Indigenous Australian children, this
study improves our understanding of OM for this group.