To estimate the coincidence of new otitis media (OM) for first nasopharyngeal detections of the more common viruses by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). New OM episodes are usually coincident with a viral upper respiratory tract infection (vURTI), but there are conflicting data regarding the association between specific viruses and OM.
Longitudinal (October-March), prospective follow-up of children for coldlike illness (CLI) by diary, middle ear status by pneumatic otoscopy, and vURTI by PCR.
Academic medical centers.
A total of 102 families with at least 2 children aged between 1 and 5 years (213 children; mean [SD] age, 3.7 [1.5] years; 110 male; and 176 white) were recruited from the local communities at 2 study sites by advertisement.
Main Outcome Measures
New OM and CLI episodes and nasopharyngeal virus detections.
A total of 176 children (81%) had isolated PCR detection of at least 1 virus. The OM coincidence rates were 62 of 144 (44%) for rhinovirus, 15 of 27 (56%) for respiratory syncytial virus, 8 of 11 (73%) and 1 of 5 (20%) for influenza A and B, respectively, 6 of 12 (50%) for adenovirus, 7 of 18 (39%) for coronavirus, and 4 of 11 (36%) for parainfluenza virus detections (P = .37). For rhinovirus, new OM occurred in 50% of children with and 32% without a concurrent CLI (P = .15), and OM risk was predicted by OM and breastfeeding histories and by daily environment outside the home.
New OM was associated with nasopharyngeal detection of all assayed viruses irrespective of the presence or absence of a concurrent CLI. Differences among viruses were noted, but statistical significance was not achieved, possibly because of the low power associated with the small number of nonrhinovirus detections.