Otomycosis in Africa: Epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment

J Mycol Med. 2021 Jun;31(2):101115. doi: 10.1016/j.mycmed.2021.101115. Epub 2021 Jan 21.


This review sets out to highlighted knowledge gaps regarding the epidemiological, diagnostic (clinical and laboratory) and therapeutic aspects of otomycosis in Africa. A computerized literature search for otomycosis related articles were performed using MEDLINE. The search encompassed articles published in early January 1980 to May 2019 yielded 220 articles. Electronic search on PubMed was performed with the specific keywords. This review shows the higher prevalence rates of otomycosis in Africa. These prevalences varies from one country to the other and also from one population to another within the same country. The main symptoms are otalgia, otorrhea, hearing loss, aural fullness, pruritus, and tinnitus. Otomycosis is due to several predisposing factors, however, use of topical antibiotic/steroid eardrops, trauma to the external ear canal or instrumentation of the ear, being exposed to hot humid atmospheres, and close contact with water are the common risk factors. Aspergillus species are the most commonly identified organisms compared with Candida species. Worldwide, A. niger and C. albicans are the most commonly described agents of otomycosis in Africa. The Laboratory diagnosis of otomycosis is usually confirmed by mycologic tests relied on a set of evidences. Further conventional methods such as Chromagar Candida System, latex agglutination test, Biochemical tests (Api 20C AuxTM and auxanogram), phenotypical tests (Germ-tube and chlamydosporulation), and rRNA gene sequencing (PCR) are performed to improve diagnosis and the management of the disease. Adequate treatment of otomycosis includes microscopic suction clearance of fungal mass, discontinuation of topical antibiotics and treatment with antifungal eardrops for three weeks.

Keywords: Africa; Diagnosis; Epidemiology; Otomycosis; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa / epidemiology
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Aspergillus / drug effects
  • Aspergillus / genetics
  • Candida / drug effects
  • Candida / genetics
  • Fungi / classification
  • Fungi / drug effects
  • Fungi / genetics
  • Fungi / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Otomycosis / diagnosis*
  • Otomycosis / drug therapy*
  • Otomycosis / epidemiology
  • Otomycosis / microbiology
  • Prevalence


  • Antifungal Agents