South African Medical Journal

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Diagnosis and treatment of ear disease among children in the Ellisras district

CH van Rooy, JG Swart, J Op't Hot, AC Vlantis, MRI Ahmed, PH Venter


Audiologists and ENT registrars examined 2 036 children aged 10 years or younger by means of pure-tone audiometry, tympanometry and otoscopic examinations. Twenty per cent of these children had ear pathology and 7,5% had impaired hearing. Forty-three pus swabs taken from patients with suppurative otitis media most often cultured Proteus mirabilis and Pseudomonas species. The prevalence of otitis media with effusion was twice as high in white children as in black children, resulting in a much higher prevalence of hearing loss in the first group. The black children had 7 times more dry perforations of the tympanic membrane and 11 times more wet perforations. A hundred and thirty-six patients were treated by the team and 137 were referred for further treatment. Sixteen operations were performed at a later stage. Further programmes are needed to diagnose and treat ear disease in rural communities.

S Afr Med J 1995; 85: 675-677

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