White Children Have More Ear Infections

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 10 (UPI) — White children and children living under the poverty level have more frequent ear infections than other children, U.S. researchers say.

Ear infections have decreased in the past few years, but more than 80 percent of U.S. children have at least one infection by the age of 3. Those with “frequent” ear infections are defined as more than three infections during a 12-month period.

Study co-author Dr. Nina Shapiro, director of pediatric otolaryngology at Mattel Children’s Hospital University of California, Los Angeles, and of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and colleagues used data from a 10-year period — 1997-2006 — taken from the National Health Interview Survey.

If a child had three or more ear infections in a year, the researchers pulled demographic data on the family. The average age of the children in the study was 8.5 years old, 51 percent were boys and 6.6 percent had frequent ear infections, the researchers say.

The study, published in the journal Laryngoscope, finds among white children, 7 percent had frequent ear infections, compared with 6.2 percent of Hispanic children, 5 percent of African-American children and 4.5 percent of children from other racial or ethnic groups.

Children from households under the poverty level had an 8 percent rate of frequent ear infections.

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