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Microbiology of itchy ears

Objective: To study microbiology of external auditory canal in patients with itchy ears and to also study susceptibility profiles of patho-genic organisms to aid in appropriate man-agement. Materials & Methods: A total of hundred pa-tients were selected. An external ear canal swab was taken. For recovery of bacteria, the samples were emulsified in a solution of BHI broth to study aerobic and anaerobic bacte-ria. Fungal microbiology was studied by KOH mount and fungal culture. Culture and sensi-tivity was done for the pathogenic organisms. Results: Of the total hundred patients, 48% pa-tients had no growth. There were no anaerobes isolated. Of the remaining 52% cases, 33% of the growth was aerobic bacteria and 19% of the growth was fungi. Of the aerobic bacteria, coag-ulase negative staphylococcus was isolated from 22 patients, staphylococcus aureus from 9 patients and pseudomonas aeruginosa from 2 patients. Of the fungal species, candida was iso-lated from 11 patients and aspergillus niger from 8 patients. Conclusion: Our study concluded that there need not be an underlying bacterial or fungal infection to cause itching as evidenced by a con-dition called asteatosis. Hence, asteatosis should be considered as one of the differential diagnosis for chronic and persistent itching when all other causes have been ruled out. We also found that topical ciprofloxacin drops is equally effective against the common bacterial pathogens.

Author(s): Vijin Ravindran Nambiar, Sheetal Rai, Gangadhara Somayaji