European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (ESSCA): polysensitization, 2009–2014

Daan Dittmar, Wolfgang Uter, Andrea Bauer, Ana B. Fortina, Andreas J. Bircher, Magdalena Czarnecka-Operacz, Aleksandra Dugonik, Peter Elsner, Rosella Gallo, Sharizan A. Ghaffar, Anna Giménez-Arnau, Graham A. Johnston, Beata Kręcisz, Francesca L. Filon, Thomas Rustemeyer, Anna Sadowska-Przytocka, Javier Sánchez-Pérez, Axel Schnuch, Dagmar Simon, Radoslaw SpiewakPhilipp Spring, Maria T. Corradin, Skaidra Valiukevičienė, Marko Vok, Elke Weisshaar, Mark Wilkinson, Marie L. Schuttelaar, Werner Aberer, Barbara Ballmer-Weber, Jürgen Grabbe, Ulrike Beiteke, Jochen Brasch, Thomas Fuchs, Swen Malte John, Vera Mahler, Maria Pesonen, Riitta Jolanki, Tapio Rantanen, José Carlos Armario-Hita, Virginia Fernández-Redondo, Juan García-Gavín, Pedro Mercader, Inmaculada Ruiz, Juan Fco Silvestre, Anna Balato, Fabio Ayala, Andrea Peserico, Gondinga Sliuziaviciene, Marta Kieć-Świerczyńska, Tanja Kmecl, Maja Kalac Pandurovic, Nada Kecelj, Tomaž Lunder, Mojca Simončič Godnič, Mahbub M.U. Chowdhury, Susan M. Cooper, John S.C. English, Philippa Cousen, Helen L. Horne, David J. Gawkrodger, Catherine Holden, Ruth Sabroe, Cathy M. Green, Codagh M. King, Anthony D. Ormerod, Jane E. Samson, Barry Statham, Natalie Stone, Ian White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd Background: Polysensitization, defined as being allergic to three or more haptens from the European baseline series, is considered to reflect increased susceptibility to developing a contact allergy, and is likely to be associated with an impaired quality of life. Objectives: To evaluate the prevalences of polysensitization across Europe and to analyse factors associated with polysensitization. Methods: Patch test data collected by the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (ESSCA; in consecutively patch tested patients from January 2009 to December 2014, comprising 11 countries and 57 departments, were retrospectively analysed. Results: A total of 86 416 patients were available for analysis, showing a standardized prevalence of polysensitization of 7.02%, ranging from 12.7% (Austria) to 4.6% (Italy). Allergen pairs with the strongest association are reported for the total population, for South Europe, and for North/Central Europe. Overall, polysensitized patients showed a higher percentage of extreme (+++) positive patch test reactions than oligosensitized patients. Female sex, occupational dermatitis and age > 40 years were risk factors for polysensitization. Conclusions: The varying prevalences of polysensitization across Europe most likely reflect differences in patient characteristics and referral patterns between departments. Known risk factors for polysensitization are confirmed in a European dermatitis population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-385
JournalContact Dermatitis
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • clinical epidemiology
  • contact allergy
  • patch test
  • polysensitization


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