Epidemiology of Itch: Adding to the Burden of Skin Morbidity
Elke Weisshaar, Florence Dalgard
Itch is the most frequent symptom in dermatology and has been researched more extensively in recent years. Nevertheless, there are few true epidemiological studies on itch. The aim of this paper is to review the current state of research on the epidemiology of chronic itch in Western and non-Western populations. The electronic databases PubMed, Medline and the Cochrane Library were searched. Conference proceedings and national and international studies were included. It is difficult to compare existing studies due to differing methodology and lack of standardized measures. The symptom of itch is a challenge, not only to clinicians, but also within the structure of regional health systems, and with regards to accessibility to specialized medical doctors in non-Western countries. Published studies show that the symptom of itch is highly prevalent; it should therefore receive adequate attention from physicians and other healthcare providers, including healthcare planners.