Introduction: Otomycosis, a superficial fungal infection of the external auditory canal (EAC), is a disease with exceptionally high prevalence.
Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of otomycosis, the distribution of causative species and to evaluate epidemiological characteristics of these infections.
Methodology: The patients' data were collected from record book and database of mycological examinations conducted at Public Health Institute Nis, Serbia. In the period from 2014 to 2018 samples of 1287 patients with symptoms and signs of EAC infection were investigated. Standard mycological methods were used for isolation and determination of fungi.
Results: High prevalence of otomycosis was determined in examined patients (22.7%). However, the prevalence rates did not differ significantly in the studied period (p=0.931). The majority of patients were diagnosed with only unilateral EAC infection (82.9%). Considering all patients with otomycosis, mold infections caused by the genus Aspergillus (143/48.9%) were more frequent than Candida spp. ear infections (133/45.6%), with Aspergillus niger and Candida аlbicans being predominant causative agents. Mixed Aspergillus and Candida otomycosis was established in 16 (5.5%) patients. Otomycosis was more common in male subjects (26.8%, p=0.003) who also suffered from Aspergillus otomycosis more frequently (17.5%, p<0.001). The prevalence of these infections increases with age (p=0.005), while they do not show seasonal pattern (p>0.05).
Conclusion: Noted high prevalence of otomycosis, with both yeasts and non-dermatophyte molds acting as infectious agents which require different treatment, implies the necessity for further epidemiological monitoring of this form of superficial mycoses.
Keywords: Aspergillus sp.; Candida sp.; Otomycosis; Prevalence.