The public health impact of a disease can be measured several ways, including the use of statistical, clinical, and economic measures. The statistical measures include morbidity or mortality information, commonly used in descriptive epidemiology, that describe the magnitude of the disease, such as the absolute number of cases, the incidence rate, the point prevalence rate, and the period prevalence rate. Clinical measures include information on the severity, the prognosis, and the preventability of the disease. Finally, economic measures include direct costs of disease diagnosis and therapy, wage losses, worker's compensation (WC) and disability payments, and indirect costs of lost work time, loss of productivity, and costs of lifestyle or vocational changes. Although irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) is considered a "common" disease, knowledge of this disease entity and its public health impact is somewhat limited. Reasons for this include inadequate diagnostic test methods, often resulting in the diagnosis of ICD being one of exclusion, and the confusion resulting from ICD often being a contributory factor in other types of dermatitis. This results in a relative lack of published reports on ICD (e.g., only 8% of the papers published in Volume 13  of Contact Dermatitis dealt with irritancy).
Contact-dermatitis; Contact-allergies; Allergic-dermatitis; Allergic-reactions; Allergies; Immune-reaction; Skin-disorders; Skin-irritants; Epidemiology; Occupational-dermatitis; Patch-tests; Soap-products; Detergents; Solvents; Petroleum-products; Plastic-products; Preventive-medicine; Lost-work-days; Public-health
Boris Lushniak, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45226