We studied the association of acute otitis media with different respiratory virus infections in a pediatric department on the basis of epidemics between 1980 and 1985. Altogether 4524 cases of acute otitis media were diagnosed. The diagnosis was confirmed by tympanocentesis in 3332 ears. Respiratory virus infection was diagnosed during the same period in 989 patients by detecting viral antigen in nasopharyngeal mucus. There was a significant correlation between acute otitis media and respiratory virus epidemics, especially respiratory syncytial virus epidemics. There was no significant correlation between outbreaks of other respiratory viruses and acute otitis media. Acute otitis media was diagnosed in 57% of respiratory syncytial virus, 35% of influenza A virus, 33% of parainfluenza type 3 virus, 30% of adenovirus, 28% of parainfluenza type 1 virus, 18% of influenza B virus and 10% of parainfluenza type 2 virus infections. These observations show a clear association of respiratory virus infections with acute otitis media. In this study on hospitalized children Haemophilus influenzae strains were the most common bacteriologic pathogens in middle ear fluid, occurring in 19% of cases. Streptococcus pneumoniae was present in 16% and Branhamella catarrhalis in 7% of cases. There was no association between specific viruses and bacteria observed in this study.