Ear infections are the most common diseases seen among pediatrics.
On the contrary of the popular belief that most ear infections are caused by bacteria, new studies find that viruses too are present in many ear infections, which explains why many antibiotic treatments fail.

In the research published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, available online, scientists used a variety of laboratory techniques to identify the pathogen that caused ear infections aka acute otitis media in 80 young children.

It was found that in 92% of the cases, bacteria was to blame, in 70% it was viruses and in 66% of the infections it was coinfection of bacteria and viruses.

The lead author of the study, Aino Ruohola, MD, PhD, from the Turku University Hospital in Finland says that the coinfection is the logical explanation since many acute otitis media cases are almost always connected to viral respiratory infection.

Antibiotic treatments, most commonly used in ear infections are only partially effective in the majority of cases as antibiotics are not effective against viruses.

Since many cases of acute otitis media resolve spontaneously, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians recommends withholding antibiotic treatment in mild AOM cases.