[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
August 1968

Jean Henri Fabre and the Patch Test

Arch Dermatol. 1968;98(2):188-190. doi:10.1001/archderm.1968.01610140086021

JADASSOHN1 first published his observations on specific eczematous sensitization of the skin to certain chemical substances in 1895. In this publication he suggested that the proof of specific sensitivity could be verified by applying the suspected substance to normal skin. This is the medical origin of patch testing for allergic eczematous sensitizations. It is interesting to note it was described 11 years before the concept of allergy was promulgated by von Pirquet.

At about the same time, a French entomologist, Jean Henri Fabre,2 working hermit-like with his insects in a remote village in France, using only superb observation and an inventive, logical mind independently thought of and used patch testing to study cutaneous irritations that developed from handling certain caterpillars.

Born in 1823, the son of a poor uneducated peasant, Jean Henri Fabre was educated in an Avignon lycee and became an obscure Provencal science teacher with a