An experimental vaccine applied the surface of the skin appears to protect against certain types of ear infections. Scientists from the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, report their findings today at the 109th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Philadelphia.
“Our data are the first to show that transcutaneous immunization is an effective way to prevent experimental ear infections and lays the foundation for an effective, yet simple, inexpensive – and potentially transformative – way to deliver vaccines,” says Laura Novotny, one of the study researchers.
Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) is one of the three main bacterial causes of otitis media (OM), an infection or inflammation of the middle ear. OM is one of the most significant health problems for children in the United States, costing approximately $5 billion annually. It is estimated that 83% of all children will experience at least one ear infection prior to 3 years of age.