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Challenges encountered in the diagnosis of tuberculous otitis media: case report and literature review

  • O T Dale (a1), A R Clarke (a1) and A J Drysdale (a1)



To report a rare case of tuberculous otitis media, and to highlight barriers to clinical and microbiological diagnosis.


Case report and literature review.


Tuberculous otitis media is a rare cause of chronic ear infection in the UK. Its symptoms may mimic a range of other otological conditions, including otitis media, chronic suppurative otitis media, cholesteatoma and necrotising otitis media.


This case report highlights the challenges of obtaining a clinical diagnosis of tuberculous otitis media, and emphasises the fact that screening for acid-fast bacilli is not sufficient, in isolation, to rule out mycobacterial infection.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Mr Oliver T Dale, Department of Plastic Surgery, Frenchay Hospital, Bristol BS16 1LE, UK Fax: + 44 (0)1332 347141 E-mail:


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5Rhoa, MH, Kimb, DW, Kima, SS, Sunga, YS, Kwona, JS, Leea, SW. Tuberculous otomastoiditis on high-resolution temporal bone CT: comparison with nontuberculous otomastoiditis with and without cholesteatoma. Am J Neuroradiol 2007;28:493–6
6Hoca, NT, Ögretensoy, M, Dayioglu, D, Akbafl, N. Tuberculous otitis media – a case report. Turkish Respiratory Journal 2008;9:4850
7Kirsch, CM, Wehner, JH, Jensen, WA, Kagawa, FT, Campagna, AC. Tuberculous otitis media. South Med J 1995;88:363–6
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9Cleary, KR, Batsakis, JG. Mycobacterial disease of the head and neck: current perspective. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 1995;104:830–3
10Williams, RG, Douglas-Jones, T. Mycobacterium marches back. J Laryngol Otol 1995;109:515


Challenges encountered in the diagnosis of tuberculous otitis media: case report and literature review

  • O T Dale (a1), A R Clarke (a1) and A J Drysdale (a1)


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