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Non-capsulated and capsulated Haemophilus influenzae in children with acute otitis media in Venezuela: a prospective epidemiological study

Laura Naranjo1*, Jose Antonio Suarez1, Rodrigo DeAntonio2, Francis Sanchez1, Alberto Calvo3, Enza Spadola4, Nicolás Rodríguez3, Omaira Andrade3, Francisca Bertuglia3, Nelly Márquez3, Maria Mercedes Castrejon2, Eduardo Ortega-Barria5 and Romulo E Colindres6

Author Affiliations

1 Policlínica Metropolitana, Piso 1, consultorio 1-13, Urbanización Caurimare, Calle A-1, Caracas, Venezuela

2 GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Clayton, Ciudad del Saber Edificio 230, Panama City, Panama

3 Laboratorio Metropolitano, Sotano 2, Urbanización Caurimare, Calle A-1, Caracas, Venezuela

4 Instituto Nacional de Higiene, Ciudad Universitaria Los Chaguaranos, Caracas, Venezuela

5 GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Estrada dos Bandeirantes, 8.464 Jacarepaguá 22783-110 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

6 GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Avenue Fleming 20, B-1300 Wavre, Belgium

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:40  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-40

Published: 15 February 2012



Non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) and Streptococcus pneumoniae are major causes of bacterial acute otitis media (AOM). Data regarding AOM are limited in Latin America. This is the first active surveillance in a private setting in Venezuela to characterize the bacterial etiology of AOM in children < 5 years of age.


Between December 2008 and December 2009, 91 AOM episodes (including sporadic, recurrent and treatment failures) were studied in 87 children enrolled into a medical center in Caracas, Venezuela. Middle ear fluid samples were collected either by tympanocentesis or spontaneous otorrhea swab sampling method. Standard laboratory and microbiological techniques were used to identify bacteria and test for antimicrobial resistance. The results were interpreted according to Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) 2009 for non-meningitis isolates. All statistical analyses were performed using SAS 9.1 and Microsoft Excel (for graphical purposes).


Overall, bacteria were cultured from 69.2% (63 of the 91 episodes); at least one pathogen (S. pneumoniae, H. influenzae, S. pyogenes or M. catarrhalis) was cultured from 65.9% (60/91) of episodes. H. influenzae (55.5%; 35/63 episodes) and S. pneumoniae (34.9%; 22/63 episodes) were the most frequently reported bacteria. Among H. influenzae isolates, 62.9% (22/35 episodes) were non-capsulated (NTHi) and 31.4% (11/35 episodes) were capsulated including types d, a, c and f, across all age groups. Low antibiotic resistance for H. influenzae was observed to amoxicillin/ampicillin (5.7%; 2/35 samples). NTHi was isolated in four of the six H. influenzae positive samples (66.7%) from recurrent episodes.


We found H. influenzae and S. pneumoniae to be the main pathogens causing AOM in Venezuela. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines with efficacy against these bacterial pathogens may have the potential to maximize protection against AOM.

Acute otitis media; Non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi); Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine