Otitis media

Last updated: Tuesday, 21, December, 2010
CausesAppropriate Tests


Blood culture and FBC if the patient is very ill, with fever.

Pus aspirated from middle ear if diagnosis is in doubt and if severely ill or not responding to appropriate treatment.

Ear swab only useful if tympanic membrane ruptures or post-myringotomy.

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Haemophilus influenzae
See Haemophilus influenzae infection
  • Moraxella (Branhamella) catarrhalis
  • Viral infection


The role of recurrent or chronic infection in 'glue ear' is unclear; impaired middle ear drainage is an important contributory cause.


Recurrent acute infection may be associated with development of a cholesteatoma in the long term - histology of curetted material.