Bacterial otitis media in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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Background: Otitis media is inflammation of the middle ear, comprising a spectrum of diseases. It is the commonest episode of infection in children, which often occurs after an acute upper respiratory tract infection. Otitis media is ranked as the second most important cause of hearing loss and the fifth global burden of disease with a higher incidence in developing worlds like Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Therefore, this systematic review is aimed to quantitatively estimate the current status of bacterial otitis media, bacterial etiology and their susceptibility profile in sub-Saharan Africa. Methods: A literature search was conducted from major databases and indexing services including EMBASE (Ovid interface), PubMed/MEDLINE, Google Scholar, ScienceDirect, Cochrane Library, WHO African Index-Medicus and others. All studies (published and unpublished) addressing the prevalence of otitis media and clinical isolates conducted in sub-Saharan Africa were included. Format prepared in Microsoft Excel was used to extract the data and data was exported to Stata version 15 software for the analyses. Der-Simonian-Laird random-effects model at a 95% confidence level was used for pooled estimation of outcomes. The degree of heterogeneity was presented with I2 statistics. Publication bias was presented with funnel plots of standard error supplemented by Begg's and Egger's tests. The study protocol is registered on PROSPERO with reference number ID: CRD42018102485 and the published methodology is available from Results: A total of 33 studies with 6034 patients were included in this study. All studies have collected ear swab/discharge samples for bacterial isolation. The pooled isolation rate of bacterial agents from the CSOM subgroup was 98%, patients with otitis media subgroup 87% and pediatric otitis media 86%. A univariate meta-regression analysis indicated the type of otitis media was a possible source of heterogeneity (p-value = 0.001). The commonest isolates were P. aeruginosa (23-25%), S. aureus (18-27%), Proteus species (11-19%) and Klebsiella species. High level of resistance was observed against Ampicillin, Amoxicillin-clavulanate, Cotrimoxazole, Amoxicillin, and Cefuroxime. Conclusion: The analysis revealed that bacterial pathogens like P. aeruginosa and S. aureus are majorly responsible for otitis media in sub-Saharan Africa. The isolates have a high level of resistance to commonly used drugs for the management of otitis media.




Tesfa, T., Mitiku, H., Sisay, M., Weldegebreal, F., Ataro, Z., Motbaynor, B., … Teklemariam, Z. (2020). Bacterial otitis media in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Infectious Diseases, 20(1).

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