Otomycosis in iran: a review

Mycopathologia. 2015 Jun;179(5-6):415-24. doi: 10.1007/s11046-015-9864-7. Epub 2015 Jan 30.


Fungal infection of the external auditory canal (otitis externa and otomycosis) is a chronic, acute, or subacute superficial mycotic infection that rarely involves middle ear. Otomycosis (swimmer's ear) is usually unilateral infection and affects more females than males. The infection is usually symptomatic and main symptoms are pruritus, otalgia, aural fullness, hearing impairment, otorrhea, and tinnitus. Fungal species such as yeasts, molds, dermatophytes, and Malassezia species are agents for otitis externa. Among molds, Aspergillus niger was described as the most common agent in the literature. Candida albicans was more prevalent than other yeast species. Otomycosis has a worldwide distribution, but the prevalence of infection is related to the geographical location, areas with tropical and subtropical climate showing higher prevalence rates. Otomycosis is a secondary infection and is more prevalent among swimmers. As a result, a higher incidence is reported in summer season, when more people interested in swimming. Incidence of otomycosis in our review ranged from 5.7 to 81 %, with a mean value of 51.3 %. Our results showed that 78.59 % of otomycosis agents were Aspergillus, 16.76 % were Candida species, and the rest (4.65 %) were other saprophytic fungi. Among Iranian patients, incidence of infection was highest in summer, followed by autumn, winter, and spring. In Iran, otomycosis was most prevalent at the age of 20-40 years and the lowest prevalence was associated with being <10 years old. The sex ratio of otomycosis in our study was (M/F) 1:1.53.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fungi / classification*
  • Fungi / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Iran / epidemiology
  • Otomycosis / epidemiology*
  • Otomycosis / microbiology*
  • Prevalence