Otitis media in Indigenous and non-Indigenous children: microbiological and immunological risk factors [ 2002 - 2004 ]

Also known as: Why do some Indigenous and non-Indigenous children get more ear infections than others?

Research Grant

[Cite as]

Researchers: A/Pr Deborah Lehmann (Principal investigator) ,  Prof Amanda Leach Prof Thomas Riley

Brief description Otitis media (middle ear infections) is a major health problem in children. Many children suffer repeated attacks requiring frequent courses of antibiotics, some need surgery and some suffer serious consequences, particularly hearing loss. This can affect performance at school, hence employment and social circumstances in adulthood. Indigenous children suffer much higher rates of disease with more complications than non-Indigenous children. Many factors predispose to the heavy burden of disease. In the Kalgoorlie-Boulder area we are following Indigenous and non-Indigenous children from birth to 24 months to look at a broad range of factors in order to proceed as soon as possible to appropriate intervention programs. Samples from the back of the nose are collected to find out the relationship between carriage of a range of bacteria or viruses and risk of getting otitis media. Information on antibiotic resistance of the bacteria we isolate will assist in ensuring appropriate treatment of otitis media. We also collect a sample of breast milk from mothers and several samples of saliva to find out about the immune system of babies and how this relates to disease to assist in an ongoing program of vaccine development for prevention of otitis media. We will find out how environmental factors such as crowding or passive smoking relate to carriage of bacteria and whether a combination of different factors increase risk of disease. A new vaccine called pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, recently licensed in Australia, is highly effective in preventing severe diseases such as pneumonia and meningitis and affords some protection against ear infections. It is likely to be offered first to Indigenous children because they suffer very high rates of pneumococcal disease. The vaccine may alter the types of bacteria in the nose. This needs to be monitored carefully which will be possible during this study.

Funding Amount $AUD 534,400.00

Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants

Notes Standard Project Grant

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