Abstract THE INCIDENCE of most dermatoses has varied at different times in history. Since 1687, when scabies was separated from the group of eczemas, this infestation has ranked third to fifth in practically every study comparing the incidence of dermatoses. This was true all over the world. It has had its fluctuations, being commoner during wartime and decreasing in frequency in periods of peace. However, it has always been common enough to richly merit the name of "the itch." Personal experience during the past few years lead to the conclusion that this disease was becoming rare. Therefore, the records in my office from 1937 to 1953 were reviewed. The results are presented in tabular form in Table 1 and graphically in Figure 1. These demonstrate a remarkable decrease in incidence when compared with normal times as well as with the period of World War II and the immediate References 1. The Army figures were supplied by Eugene L. Hamilton, Chief of the Medical Statistics Division in the Office of the Surgeon General. According to Williams, these figures have certain limitations. In the first place, up to 1948, the figures include only those cases in which scabies was the primary diagnosis. After this time, the statistics include not only those with a main diagnosis of scabies but also those in which this infestation was a complication or incidental finding. Therefore the reported decreased incidence after 1948 is even greater than indicated at first glance. Through June, 1949, the figures also included the Air Force. Statistics for 1918 through 1940 are based on reports of the Army Surgeon General and may be considered final. The data for 1941 to 1953, however, were obtained from sample tabulations of individual medical records and summaries of periodic morbidity reports and should be considered provisional, pending publication of final tabulations based on the individual medical records. 2. Banks, A. L.: Ecology in Relation to Dermatology , in MacKenna, R. M. B.: Modern Trends in Dermatology (Second Series) , London, Butterworth & Co., Ltd., 1954.
A.M.A. Archives of Dermatology – American Medical Association
Published: Feb 1, 1955