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The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus and associated coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) disease pandemic have rapidly spread around the world since December 2019. The high rate of droplet spread can endanger health care workers during procedures of the aerodigestive tract,1 particularly affecting otolaryngologists. Although there are no human data relating to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the middle ear, the recommendations to mitigate these risks include precautions for middle ear and mastoid surgery1,2 because middle ear effusions have been shown to contain some non–SARS-CoV-2 coronaviruses.3 We present confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 colonization of the middle ear and mastoid in 2 of 3 patients.
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Accepted for Publication: June 2, 2020.
Corresponding Author: C. Matthew Stewart, MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins Outpatient Center, 601 N Caroline St, 6th floor, Baltimore, MD 21287 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Author Contributions: Dr Stewart had full access to all the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.
Concept and design: All authors.
Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.
Drafting of the manuscript: Mostafa, Stewart.
Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.
Administrative, technical, or material support: All authors.
Supervision: Mostafa, Stewart.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Hooper reported grants from the National Institutes of Health during the conduct of the study. No other disclosures were reported.
Published Online: July 23, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2020.1922
Correction: This article was corrected on September 3, 2020, to fix a missing acknowledgement of funding from the National Institutes of Health. This article was corrected online.
Funding: Dr Frazier’s research is supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH NIDCD 2T32DC000027).
Role of the Funder/Sponsor: National Institutes of Health had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
Additional Contributions: We thank Michael Forman, MS, for his molecular virology laboratory and PCR expertise (uncompensated) as well as the families who granted consent for autopsy.
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