Incidence of acute otitis media in children < 16 years old in Germany during 2014–2019.

Tianyan Hu, Bélène Podmore, Rosemarie Barnett, Dominik Beier, Wolfgang Galetzka, Nawab Qizilbash, Dennis Haeckl, Jessica Weaver, Timo Boellinger, Sarah Mihm, Tanaz Petigara

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Acute otitis media (AOM) remains a common infection in children despite the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines. This study estimated AOM incidence rates (IRs) over time in children < 16 years old in Germany following PCV13 introduction.

AOM episodes were identified in the InGef healthcare claims database from 2014–2019 in children aged < 16 years. Each AOM episode was classified as either simple or recurrent. Recurrent AOM was defined as 3 or more episodes identified within a 6-month period; or 4 or more episodes within a 12-month period with at least one episode in the prior 6 months. AOM-related surgical procedures within 12 months and complications within 21 days of an AOM episode were also identified. Annual IRs were calculated as number of episodes/child-years (CY) at risk. 95% Confidence intervals (95%CI) were calculated using the Wilson method. The Mann–Kendall test was used to assess trends over time.

Between 2014 and 2019, the study population comprised 916,805 children with 327,726 AOM episodes, of which 15% (49,011) of all episodes were identified as recurrent AOM and 85% (278,715) as simple AOM. There were significant declines in AOM (p = 0.003) in the study population overall and in all age groups over the study period; from 101 (95%CI 101–102)/1000 CY to 79 (95%CI 78–80)/1000 CY in the total study population, from 209 (95%CI 206–212)/1000 CY to 147 (95%CI 145–150)/1000 CY in < 2-year-olds, from 239 (95%CI 237–242) to 179 (95%CI 177–182)/1000 CY in 2–4-year-olds, and from 50 (95%CI 49–50) to 38 (95%CI 37–39)/1000 CY in 5–15-year-olds. No significant trends were identified for AOM-related surgical procedures over the study period; however, AOM-related complications overall increased (p = 0.003).

Between 2014 and 2019, AOM incidence overall declined in children aged 0–15 years in Germany. Over the study period, the incidence of complicated AOM cases increased, however the incidence of AOM-related surgical procedures remained constant. Despite the impact of PCV13, the burden associated with AOM in Germany remains substantial.
Original languageEnglish
Article number204
JournalBMC Pediatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was sponsored and funded by Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA.


  • Acute otitis media
  • Complications
  • Healthcare claims
  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine
  • Recurrent AOM
  • Surgical procedures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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