Patch test results in schoolchildren. Results from the Information Network of Departments of Dermatology (IVDK) and the German Contact Dermatitis Research Group (DKG)

J Brasch, J Geier
Contact Dermatitis 1997, 37 (6): 286-93
Our aim was to explore the current spectrum of contact allergens in schoolchildren, as a basis for diagnosis and prevention of allergic contact dermatitis. Results of patch tests in children 6-15 years old, performed in the years 1990-1995 by 22 centres of the German Contact Dermatitis Research Group and filed by the Information Network of Departments of Dermatology, were analysed and evaluated retrospectively, including epidemiologic data. Children with positive tests (62 out of 156 boys and 108 out of 260 girls tested) had a higher frequency of allergic contact dermatitis and a lower frequency of atopic dermatitis than patch test negative ones. 16 distinct allergens elicited positive reactions in > or = 1% of the children tested. Reactions to nickel sulfate occurred in 15.9% of all children tested, but in 25.0% of girls 14/15 years old, and in only 4.5% of boys 6-13 years old. Double-sensitizations with cobalt salts, potassium dichromate and palladium were seen. Mercury compounds were found in 2nd place (thimerosal: all children: 11.3%; 6-13 years old: 14.3%; 14/15 years old: 8.0%), followed by fragrance allergens. We conclude that contact allergy in children is related to their sex and age. Prophylaxis against nickel, mercury, and fragrance allergy needs to be improved. A shortened standard series may be sufficient for testing children.

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