Frequency of contact allergy in German children and adolescents patch tested between 1995 and 2002: results from the Information Network of Departments of Dermatology and the German Contact Dermatitis Research Group

Guido Heine, Axel Schnuch, Wolfgang Uter, Margitta Worm
Contact Dermatitis 2004, 51 (3): 111-7
Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) affects approximately 7% of the general population. To evaluate the frequency of ACD in children, we analysed patch test results collected by the Information Network of Departments of Dermatology between 1995 and 2002. Data of 285 children (6-12 year) and 2175 adolescent patients (13-18 year) were analysed to determine the frequency of sensitization to the 30 most common contact allergens, adjusting for age and sex. As control group, we defined adult patients (60-66 year, n = 7904). The top allergens in children were thimerosal, gentamicin sulphate, nickel-II-sulphate, ammoniated mercury, cobalt-II-chloride, fragrance mix, bufexamac, Compositae mix, propylene glycol and turpentine. The overall proportion of sensitized patients according to the patch test results was 52.6% in the children group compared to 49.7% in the adolescent group. These findings were similar in the adult group at 52.2%. The detailed analysis regarding sex, occupation, atopy, site of eczema and age showed distinct patterns in each group indicating age-specific exposures. Atopy-related diseases were more common in children compared to adults. On the basis of the data of this study, the relationship between atopy and the risk of development of ACD, at least in children, needs further investigation.


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