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Summary

Background

Skin diseases are the most frequently recognized occupational diseases in Denmark. The prognosis for occupational contact dermatitis is often poor.

Objectives

To investigate the prognosis, assessed by eczema, job status and skin-related quality of life, among patients allergic to rubber chemicals and latex (ubiquitous allergens) and epoxy (nonubiquitous allergen), 2 years after recognition of occupational allergic contact dermatitis.

Methods

From a cohort of all patients recognized as having occupational dermatitis by the Danish National Board of Industrial Injuries in 2010, 199 patients with relevant rubber allergy (contact allergy to rubber chemicals or contact urticaria from latex) or epoxy allergy were identified. Follow-up consisted of a questionnaire covering current severity of eczema, employment, exposure and quality of life.

Results

The response rate was 75%. Clearance of eczema was reported by 11% of patients and 67% reported improvement. Overall 22% of patients with allergy to a nonubiquitous allergen had total clearance of eczema compared with 10% of cases allergic to ubiquitous allergens and 0% of those with contact urticaria (P = 0·116). Improvement was significantly more frequent in those who had changed jobs compared with those who had not (= 0·01).

Conclusions

At follow-up, patients with contact urticaria had significantly poorer prognosis than those with contact allergy, and there was a trend towards a poorer prognosis for those with contact allergy to rubber chemicals than those with allergy to epoxy. A significant positive association between job change and improvement was found.