Otomycosis in Shanghai: aetiology, clinical features and therapy

Mycoses. 2012 Sep;55(5):404-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0507.2011.02132.x. Epub 2011 Oct 17.


Otomycosis is frequently seen in Shanghai and is a challenging problem due to recurrence and resistance to therapy. The aims of this study were to determine the pattern of fungal agents, sex distribution, clinical presentation, predisposing factors, complications and treatment outcomes of otomycosis. Retrospective review of 108 patients with a clinical diagnosis of otomycosis treated from September 2009 to September 2010 in otolaryngology outpatient department. It has been found to be more prevalent in female patients than male patients with a sex ratio (F : M) of 2 : 1. Aspergillus niger (54.78%) followed by Candida albicans (16.52%) were the dominant fungi. Pruritus and otorrhea were the most common presenting complaints. The predisposing factors included frequent scratching of the external ear canal (79.63%), taking ototopical and/or oral antimicrobials (24.07%), diabetes (11.11%) and otologic procedures (7.41%). Residual disease was observed in 9.26% and recurrence in 8.89% of the subjects. Topical Fluconazole ear drops and mechanical debridement of visible fungal elements in the external auditory canal were all relatively effective with 83.33% resolution rate on initial application. The diagnosis of otomycosis requires vigilance from clinicians given its non-specific symptoms. Sometimes mycological examinations are necessary. Treatment regimens such as topical fluconazole coupled with mechanical debridement are generally effective. However, recurrence is not uncommon and eradication of disease can be particularly difficult in patients with diabetes and a mastoid cavity.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antifungal Agents / administration & dosage
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • China / epidemiology
  • Debridement
  • Female
  • Fluconazole / administration & dosage
  • Fungi / classification
  • Fungi / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Otomycosis / drug therapy
  • Otomycosis / epidemiology*
  • Otomycosis / etiology*
  • Otomycosis / pathology
  • Outpatients
  • Prevalence
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Fluconazole