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Aetiological Agents of Ear Discharge: A Two year Review in a Teaching Hospital in Ghana

L Appiah-Korang
S Asare-Gyasi
AE Yawson
K Searyoh


Background: The discharging ear is a common presentation in medical practice affecting all age groups but primarily children. This study shows the current aetiological causes of ear discharge and their antibiograms, data which would guide empirical treatment of ear infections, and also form a basis for further research.
Methodology: This was a retrospective review of laboratory records of all ear swabs submitted for culture over a two year period in the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital Accra, Ghana. Data was obtained on demographic characteristics of patients, clinical diagnosis, isolated organisms and antibiotic susceptibility patterns of the isolated organisms. Data was analyzed by simple descriptive statistics.
Results: A total of 351 ear swabs were received by the laboratory for processing over the two year period. Of these 277(78.9%) had microorganisms isolated. A significant number127 (47%) was obtained from children under five years. Pseudomonas spp was the commonly isolated organism 121(46%) followed by Staphylococcus aureus 33(12.5%) and Proteus spp 32(12.2%). Candida was the commonest isolated fungiĀ  9 (69.2%). Susceptibility of Pseudomonas spp to commonly used ototopics (ciprofloxacin & gentamicin) was 93% and 74% respectively.
Conclusions: Most cases of the discharging ear were found in children under the age of five years. The most common bacteriologic cause of the discharging ear was Pseudomonas spp followed by Staphylococcus aureus. Candida species was the commonest fungal cause of ear discharge. Ciprofloxacin and gentamicin are effective ototopic antimicrobial agents for empirical treatment of the discharging ear.

Key words: Ear discharge, antimicrobial agents, susceptibility, ototopics, Korle-Bu teaching hospital

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print ISSN: 0016-9560