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January 1964

Incidence of Atopy in the General Population

Author Affiliations


From the Dermatology Section of the Department of Medicine, Veterans Administration Hospital, Long Beach, Calif, and the Division of Dermatology of the Department of Medicine, University of California Medical Center, Los Angeles.

Arch Dermatol. 1964;89(1):27-32. doi:10.1001/archderm.1964.01590250033006

A total of 1,832 patients with nonatopic and non-"functional" dermatologic problems were questioned for personal and/or family history of atopic disorders. The incidence of positive personal atopic histories was 19.4%, while the incidence of family histories of atopy was 22.6%. Among the 1,476 subjects without a personal history of atopy the incidence of positive family histories was 18.4%. Difficulties in establishing satisfactory criteria and methods for such a study are discussed. Previous studies on this problem are tabulated.

An apparent increase in the record incidence of atopy over the years has occurred. We suggest the true incidence of atopy in the general population now approximates 20% instead of the oft-quoted figure of 10% based on earlier reports. A less definite increase in the incidence of positive family histories of atopy may exist.

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