Influenza vaccination in the prevention of acute otitis media in children

Am J Dis Child. 1991 Apr;145(4):445-8. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.1991.02160040103017.


We studied a new approach to the prevention of acute otitis media through the administration of influenza vaccine to 187 day-care center children aged 1 to 3 years before the influenza A epidemic of 1988-1989. The control group consisted of 187 unvaccinated children of similar age and background. During the 6-week study period, influenza A infection was diagnosed in five (3%) of 187 vaccinees and in 29 (16%) of 187 controls. Acute otitis media developed in three (60%) of five vaccinees with an influenza A infection compared with 18 (67%) of 27 controls (excluded were two children with a double viral infection). The incidence of acute otitis media associated with influenza A was reduced by 83% in the vaccinees. The total number of children with acute otitis media in the vaccine group was 35, compared with 55 in the control group, disclosing a 36% reduction among the vaccinees. We conclude that influenza vaccination decreases the incidence of acute otitis media in children during an influenza A epidemic, suggesting also that other vaccines against respiratory viruses may be an effective way to reduce the incidence of acute otitis media.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Causality
  • Child Day Care Centers
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Influenza A virus*
  • Influenza Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Influenza Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / complications
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / epidemiology
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / prevention & control*
  • Otitis Media / epidemiology
  • Otitis Media / etiology*
  • Otitis Media / prevention & control


  • Influenza Vaccines