What causes fungal otitis externa (OE) and how is it characterized?

Updated: Mar 09, 2020
  • Author: Ariel A Waitzman, MD, FRCSC; Chief Editor: Ravindhra G Elluru, MD, PhD  more...
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Answer

Fungal OE may result from overtreatment with topical antibiotics or may arise de novo from moisture trapped in the EAC. It is caused by Aspergillus 80-90% of the time; Candida and other organisms have also been isolated. This condition is characterized by long, white, filamentous hyphae growing from the skin surface. Besides otorrhea, erythema and edema of the EAC are common. In severe cases, soft tissue stenosis may be present. Extension of the infection may manifest as cellulitic skin changes involving the concha of the auricle and the tragus.


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