Incidence of acute otitis media in children in the United States before and after the introduction of 7- and 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccines during 1998-2018

BMS Infectious Diseases, 2022


Acute otitis media (AOM) is a leading cause of office visits and antibiotic prescriptions in children. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines were introduced in the USA in 2000 (7-valent, PCV7) and 2010 (13-valent, PCV13). Expanded valency PCVs are currently under development. To describe the impact of PCVs and quantify the residual burden of AOM, this study estimated annual incidence rates (IRs) of AOM and AOM-related complications and surgical procedures in children < 18 years in the USA before and after the introduction of PCV7 and PCV13.


AOM episodes were identified in the IBM MarketScan® Commercial and Medicaid databases using diagnosis codes (ICD-9-CM: 382.x; ICD-10-CM: H66.xx and H67.xx). Annual IRs were calculated as the number of episodes per 1000 person-years (PYs) for all children < 18 years and by age group (< 2, 2-4, and 5-17 years). National estimates of annual AOM IRs were extrapolated using Census Bureau data. Interrupted time series analyses were used to assess immediate and gradual changes in monthly AOM IRs, controlling for seasonality.


In the commercially insured population, AOM IRs declined between the pre-PCV7 period (1998-1999) and the late PCV13 period (2014-2018) from 1170.1 to 768.8 episodes per 1000 PY for children < 2 years, from 547.4 to 410.3 episodes per 1000 PY in children 2-4 years, and from 115.6 to 91.8 episodes per 1000 PY in children 5-17 years. The interrupted time series analyses indicated significant immediate or gradual decreases in the early PCV7 period (2001-2005), and gradual increases in the late PCV7 period (2006-2009) in children < 2 years; however, crude IRs trended downward in all time periods. In older children, IRs decreased in the early PCV7 and early PCV13 period (2011-2013), but gradually increased in the late PCV7 period. IRs of AOM-related surgical procedures decreased, and IRs of AOM-related complications increased during the study timeframe.


AOM disease burden remains high in children of all ages despite overall reductions in AOM IRs during 1998-2018 following the introduction of PCV7 and PCV13. The impact of investigational PCVs on the disease burden of AOM will likely depend on AOM etiology and circulating pneumococcal serotypes.

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Hu T, Done N, Petigara T, Mohanty S, Song Y, Liu Q, Lemus-Wirtz E, Signorovitch J, Sarpong E, Weiss T