Content » Vol 100, 100-year theme: Atopic dermatitis (June)


Prevalence and Incidence of Atopic Dermatitis: A Systematic Review

Simon Bylund, Laura B. von Kobyletzki, Marika Svalstedt, Åke Svensson
DOI: 10.2340/00015555-3510


The primary objective of this study was to systematically review and analyse epidemiological studies of the prevalence and incidence of atopic dermatitis (AD) during childhood and adulthood, focusing on data from the 21st century. A systematic search of PubMed, EMBASE and Google (manual search) was performed in June 2019, followed by data abstraction and study quality assessment (Newcastle–Ottawa Scale). Cross-sectional and longitudinal epidemiological studies of individuals with AD (doctor-diagnosed or standardized definition) were included. Of 7,207 references reviewed, 378 moderate/good-quality studies were included: 352 on prevalence of AD and 26 on incidence of AD. In the 21st century, the 1-year prevalence of doctor-diagnosed AD ranged from 1.2% in Asia to 17.1% in Europe in adults, and 0.96% to 22.6% in children in Asia. The 1-year incidence ranged from 10.2 (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 9.9–10.6) in Italy to 95.6 (95% CI 93.4–97.9) per 1,000 person-years in children in Scotland. There were few recent studies on incidence of AD in the 21st century and no studies on adults only; most studies were conducted in Europe and the USA. Epidemiological studies on childhood and adulthood AD in different continents are still needed, especially on the incidence of AD during adulthood.


Atopic dermatitis is common, and is often burdensome for the individual. An overview of how often AD occurs is therefore necessary. A systematic review was performed, which included more than 7,000 articles with data from all continents, on children and adults. Each year, up to 17.1% of adults and 22.6% of children were diagnosed with AD; with as many as 9.6% new cases of AD in children. Surprisingly, in adults, studies on new cases were from the 20th century. The results will be useful for patient organizations, physicians, scientists and healthcare planning, especially as new therapies are emerging.

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