J Korean Med Sci.  2017 Apr;32(4):672-678. 10.3346/jkms.2017.32.4.672.

Bacterial Species and Antibiotic Sensitivity in Korean Patients Diagnosed with Acute Otitis Media and Otitis Media with Effusion

  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. yeo2park@gmail.com
  • 2Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, The Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, Incheon St. Mary's Hospital, Incheon, Korea.
  • 3Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Hallym University College of Medicine, Dongtan Sacred Heart Hospital, Hwaseong, Korea.
  • 4Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Yeungnam University College of Medicine, Daegu, Korea.
  • 5Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Eulji University Hospital, Eulji University, Daejeon, Korea.
  • 6Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 7Department of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Samsung Changwon Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Changwon, Korea.


Changes over time in pathogens and their antibiotic sensitivity resulting from the recent overuse and misuse of antibiotics in otitis media (OM) have complicated treatment. This study evaluated changes over 5 years in principal pathogens and their antibiotic sensitivity in patients in Korea diagnosed with acute OM (AOM) and OM with effusion (OME). The study population consisted of 683 patients who visited the outpatient department of otorhinolaryngology in 7 tertiary hospitals in Korea between January 2010 and May 2015 and were diagnosed with acute AOM or OME. Aural discharge or middle ear fluid were collected from patients in the operating room or outpatient department and subjected to tests of bacterial identification and antibiotic sensitivity. The overall bacteria detection rate of AOM was 62.3% and OME was 40.9%. The most frequently isolated Gram-positive bacterial species was coagulase negative Staphylococcus aureus (CNS) followed by methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA), methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), and Streptococcus pneumonia (SP), whereas the most frequently isolated Gram-negative bacterium was Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA). Regardless of OM subtype, ≥ 80% of CNS and MRSA strains were resistant to penicillin (PC) and tetracycline (TC); isolated MRSA strains showed low sensitivity to other antibiotics, with 100% resistant to PC, TC, cefoxitin (CFT), and erythromycin (EM); and isolated PA showed low sensitivity to quinolone antibiotics, including ciprofloxacin (CIP) and levofloxacin (LFX), and to aminoglycosides. Bacterial species and antibiotic sensitivity did not change significantly over 5 years. The rate of detection of MRSA was higher in OME than in previous studies. As bacterial predominance and antibiotic sensitivity could change over time, continuous and periodic surveillance is necessary in guiding appropriate antibacterial therapy.


Otitis Media; Bacteria; Antibiotic Sensitivity; Korea
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