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Dermatitis. 2020 Mar/Apr;31(2):157-164. doi: 10.1097/DER.0000000000000526.

Association of Atopic Dermatitis With Bacterial, Fungal, Viral, and Sexually Transmitted Skin Infections.

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From the Graduate School.
Departments of Dermatology, Preventive Medicine and Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Northwestern Medicine Multidisciplinary Eczema Center, Chicago, IL.



Atopic dermatitis (AD) is associated with altered skin barrier, microbiome, and immune dysregulation that may increase risk of skin infections.


The aim of the study was to determine whether AD is associated with skin infections and related outcomes.


Data from the 2006 to 2012 National Emergency Department Sample were analyzed, including an approximately 20% sample of all US emergency department (ED) visits (N = 198,102,435 adults or children).


Skin infections were increased in ED visits of adults (7.14% vs 3.76%) and children (5.15% vs 2.48%) with AD. In multivariable logistic regression models, AD was associated with significantly higher odds of skin infection in adults (adjusted odds ratio [95% confidence interval] = 1.93 [1.89-1.97]) and children (2.23 [2.16-2.31]). Pediatric and adult AD were associated with significantly higher odds of carbuncle/furuncles, impetigo, cellulitis, erysipelas, methicillin-resistant and methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus infections, molluscum contagiosum, cutaneous warts, herpes simplex and zoster viruses, eczema herpeticum, dermatophytosis, and candidiasis of skin/nails and vulva/urogenitals. Adults with AD had significantly higher odds of genital warts (1.51 [1.36-1.52]) and herpes (1.23 [1.11-1.35]). Skin infections were associated with US $19 million excess annual costs of ED care in persons with AD.


Atopic dermatitis patients had higher odds of multiple bacterial, viral, fungal, and sexually transmitted skin infections.

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