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J Korean Acad Fam Med. 2005 Jun;26(6):318-326. Korean. Original Article.
Choi JS , Jang JY , Kong UH , Sim HJ , Suh KS , Kim ST .
Department of Family Medicine, Kosin University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea.
Department of Dermatology, Kosin University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea.

BACKGROUND: The herbicides used in Vietnam were later found to be extremely contaminated with 2,3,7, 8-tetrachlorodibenzo-rho-dioxin (TCDD). The carcinogenecity of the product was for all cancers combined. The risk of soft tissue sarcoma, lung cancer, and lymphoma, chloracne, peripheral neuropathy and other diseases were found to be increased. Although many veterans exposed to herbicides had chronic skin diseases with variable clinical features, there were few researches about herbicides-related skin diseases. The purpose of this study was to investigate the characteristics of herbicides-related skin diseases and to provide epidemiologic information. METHODS: This study has been reviewed in the clinical findings of 127 veterans with skin diseases exposed to herbicides who visited Kosin University Gospel Hospital during the 5 years from January of 1997 to December of 2001. RESULTS: The age distribution was in the range of 47~68 years. The mean age was 54.6 years old. All patients were male. In the duration, 34 patients (26.8%) developed skin diseases for 6~10 years, 21 patients (16.5%) for 16~20 years, and 21 patients (16.5%), 25 years. In the incidence, seborrheic dermatitis was the most frequently observed in 45 patients (35.4%) followed by eczematous dermatitis in 41 patients (32.3%), xerotic eczema in 23 (18.1%) and pruritic dermatoses in 21 (16.5 %). In the incidence ratio of skin diseases with systemic diseases, chronic urticaria was the most highly observed with 100% (1/1) followed by fungal infection in 70% (7/10), other diseases in 66.6% (6/9), seborrheic dermatitis in 64.4% (29/45), eczematous dermatitis in 56.1% (23/41), and xerotic eczema in 52.2% (12/23). Sixty eight patients had skin diseases with systemic disease. Hypertension and diabetes were most frequently observed with 24 and 23 patients, respectively. The order of incidence was as follows: liver disease, gastroduodenal ulcer, peripheral neuropathy, chronic gastroenteritis, and hyperlipidemia. Mycosis fungoides was found in 4 cases and monoclonal T cell gamma receptor gene rear-rangement was detected in 2 cases (50%). CONCLUSION: Skin diseases among veterans exposed to herbicides used in Vietnam was chronic and showed variable clinical features. It was difficult to confirm the relationship between skin diseases and herbicides, but further researches are required to seek guidelines for the evaluation of skin diseases.

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