Chronic otitis media may be due to recurrence of infection rather than re-infection, say US and German researchers. They detected bacterial biofilms — adherent clusters of bacteria enclosed in a matrix — on most middle ear mucosa biopsy specimens taken from children with chronic otitis with effusion or recurrent otitis media; however, they found none on similar specimens from uninfected control patients who were to have cochlear implantation. Further, the bacterial species involved in the mucosal biofilms were the same pathogens commonly associated with otitis media. Biofilm bacteria provide a physical barrier to host defences; also, they are more antibiotic resistant than single cells in suspension.
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