March 2, 2006

Vaccine reduces ear infection in toddlers: doctors

LONDON (Reuters) - A new vaccine could help to reduce
middle ear infection, a common problem in toddlers, scientists
said on Friday.

Researchers at the University of Defense in Hradec Kralove
in the Czech Republic said the vaccine they tested against
middle ear infection, or otitis media, reduced cases of the
illness by a about 30 percent in babies who had been vaccinated
in the first six months of life.

"We found a reduction in ear, nose and throat
specialist-confirmed episodes of acute otitis media by about a
third in infants in the vaccine group compared with controls,"
said Dr Roman Prymula, who headed the study reported in the
Lancet medical journal.

Middle ear infection causes fever, pain and sometimes a
decrease in hearing. The infection often follows a cold. It is
most common in young children. Treatment is usually

Prymula and his team tested the vaccine on nearly 5,000
infants who were either given three doses of the new vaccine
and a booster before 15-months-old or a vaccine for hepatitis

Children who received the hepatitis vaccine acted as the
control group.

"This study showed a statistically significant and
clinically relevant reduction in episodes of acute otitis
media," Prymula added.