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The epidemiology of occupational contact dermatitis


Occupational contact dermatitis (OCD) ranks first of all occupational diseases in many countries. The incidence rate is believed to be around 0.5–1.9 cases per 1000 full-time workers per year. Epidemiological studies play an important role in observing disease trends, analysing risk factors, and monitoring the effect of preventive measures. In this review article the lack of truly epidemiologic data on OCD and the difficulties of those studies are illustrated. The following issues are highlighted: case ascertainment and bias, the distribution of allergic and irritant contact dermatitis in the working population, the interrelationship between exogenous (allergens, irritants) and endogenous factors, the prognosis, the social and economic impact, and the need for intervention studies.

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Received: 26 January 1999 / Accepted: 24 April 1999

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Diepgen, T., Coenraads, P. The epidemiology of occupational contact dermatitis. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 72, 496–506 (1999).

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  • Key words Occupational dermatitis
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Allergy
  • Irritation
  • Exposure
  • Atopy
  • Prevention
  • Prognosis
  • Risk