Moraxella catarrhalis is part of the normal bacterial flora in the nasopharynx of children, although over the past two decades, it has emerged as a significant bacterial pathogen and not simply a commensal colonizer. The bacterium rapidly colonizes the nasopharynx soon after birth and many factors affect nasopharyngeal carriage of this human-specific pathogen, including for example, the presence of siblings, day-care attendance and respiratory illness. Otitis media (OM) is a particularly important respiratory illness during early childhood and the primary reason for children to visit a physician. The most common bacterial species cultured from the nasopharynx of children during OM episodes are Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae and M. catarrhalis, either as single pathogens or as co-cultures, with the patterns of nasopharyngeal colonization by microorganisms being important determinants for OM disease. There is increasing information regarding the biological mechanisms facilitating M. catarrhalis-mediated colonization and disease development, with most publications stressing the importance of bacterial adherence as an essential step in this process.

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A.F. van Belkum (Alex)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Printing of this thesis was financially supported by (in alphabetical order): BD Diagnostics-Diagnostic Systems, bioMérieux Benelux BV, GlaxoSmithKline, The Netherlands Society of Medical Microbiology (NVMM) and The Netherlands Society for Microbiology (NVvM), Merck Sharp & Dohme BV, Oxoid BV
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Verhaegh, S.J.C. (2011, June). Epidemiology and pathogenesis of Moraxella catarrhalis colonization and infection . Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from