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February 1957

Racial and Environmental Factors in Susceptibility to Rhus

Author Affiliations

Oakland, Calif.; U. S. A. F.

From the Department of Dermatology, Highland-Alameda County Hospital.

AMA Arch Derm. 1957;75(2):197-201. doi:10.1001/archderm.1957.01550140041007

For reasons that are obscure at this time, certain dermatoses have racial or geographic peculiarities of distribution. The Negro is considered to be comparatively immune to basal-cell epitheliomas but particularly susceptible to the annular syphilid. Howard Fox,1 after a study of 2200 Negroes and an equal number of whites, reached the conclusion that the Negro is less susceptible to external contacts. To quote his article of 1908:

An example of lessened susceptibility to vegetable irritants is given by my statistics for poison by the Rhus toxicodendron, which showed 22 cases in the white against 8 in the black. While these figures show a much greater prevalence of ivy poisoning in the white, the disproportion in my opinion would have been much greater in a comparison of whites with full-blooded Negroes. In replying to the question, "Is the Negro immune to ivy poisoning?" the answer, "I have

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