Recent studies described the acute diffuse external otitis frequently observed in recreational scuba-divers and swimmers in the tropics. In this study the microflora of the external auditory canal of 90 persons was determined. Additionally, a group of 17 persons was examined before, during and at the end of a two weeks vacation on a tropical coral island as well as three months after. Further, samples from sea, lagoon water and the water supplies used for the showers were microbiologically examined. 14 different and fecultatively pathogenic microorganisms were isolated from the external auditory canals. We found a temporary colonization with those microorganisms during the two weeks. Above all Pseudomonas aeruginosa was predominant during and at the end of the vacation especially in children. Before the vacation and three months after P. aeruginosa could not be found. The samples of sea and lagoon waters did not seem to be noticeably polluted, whereas the samples of the water supply were extremely contaminated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It was concluded that besides indirect factors such as tropical climate and intensive exposition to water, the insufficient treatment of the water from the supply could also be a reason for the temporary microbiological colonization of the external auditory canal.

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