Otitis media remains a major health problem in Australia, with an unacceptably great dichotomy of incidence and severity of otitis media and its complications between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Among most children with acute otitis media, infection resolves rapidly with or without antibiotics, with ongoing middle ear effusion the only sequela.
Overcrowding, poor living conditions, exposure to cigarette smoke, and lack of access to medical care are all major risk factors for otitis media.
Estimates of the number of cases of otitis media in 2008 vary between 992 000 and 2 430 000 Australians, with a total estimated cost of $100 – $400 million.
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