Genetic counseling in an indigenous Filipino community with a high prevalence of A2ML1-related otitis media
In this report, we describe the knowledge and beliefs on causes and management of otitis media of an indigenous Filipino community with a high prevalence of otitis media that is associated with an A2ML1 variant. Community lectures and individual genetic counseling were provided as intervention. Knowledge, beliefs, and health care-seeking behavior pertaining to otitis media were assessed pre- and post-genetic counseling. Twenty-five heads of households were interviewed. Beliefs regarding etiology of ear discharge varied widely, with swimming in the sea as the most commonly cited cause of ear discharge. During the post-counseling session, poor personal hygiene, dirty environment, and familial inheritance were mentioned as risk factors for otitis media or ear discharge. Knowledge about the genotypes for the A2ML1 variant and otitis media diagnoses within the household influenced beliefs on the role of hygiene and genetic susceptibility to otitis media and attitudes towards health care-seeking behavior. Genetic counseling was associated with variable improvement in knowledge on otitis media and in their understanding of genetic susceptibility to otitis media due to the A2ML1 variant. Language barriers, literacy level, cultural factors, and the complex nature of genetic information made genetic counseling in the particular population a challenge. Insights drawn from this experience recommend follow-up visits in the community.
KeywordsA2ML1 Filipino Genetic counseling Indigenous community Otitis media
We are very thankful to the study participants.
This work was funded by the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development - Department of Science and Technology Balik Scientist Program and the National Institutes of Health – National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders R01-DC015004 (both to R.L.P.S.C.).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The study was conducted according to the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki. Prior to initiation, it was approved by the University of the Philippines Manila Research Ethics Board, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and the Colorado Multiple Institutional Review Board.
Community consent was obtained as part of the NCIP approval process prior to the start of the study. In addition, informed consent was obtained from individual participants included in the study.
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