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August 1974

Subclinical Infection

Arch Dermatol. 1974;110(2):297. doi:10.1001/archderm.1974.01630080085032

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To the Editor.—  The article by Marples et al (Arch Dermatol 108:237, 1973) highlights a problem that has interested me for many years— namely, the importance of subclinical or "hidden" infection in common inflammatory dermatoses.The authors pose the question "We must then inquire how often dermatoses are complicated by infection? The literature supplies no answer ..."Dr. Selwyn and I carried out some research in Edinburgh on this very question (Br J Dermatol 77:349,1965). Not only did we point out that there was a high percentage of patients with important but clinically unapparent infections of their lesions, but we also highlighted the hazard of the dispersal of these bacteria into the atmosphere. This latter aspect of the paper covers the point made by the authors in their discussion of the public health aspects of dermatitic skin colonized by pathogens.Certainly in children and almost certainly in adults, eczema is commonly

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