BACKGROUND: Scientific and epidemiologic studies have shown that several dermatoses of Vietnam veterans were caused by Agent Orange. Most of the previous studies on Vietnam veterans have been about the relationship between systemic diseases including limited dermatoses and Agent Orange, but there have been no clinical studies of dermatoses of Korean Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange. OBJECTIVE: We conducted this study to find out the distribution and characteristics of dermatoses of Korean Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange. METHODS: A total of 19, 262 Korean Vietnam veterans who received their first dermatological examination at Seoul Veterans Hospital between January 1997 and December 2003 were included in this study, which consisted of a skin examination and 15-item questionnaire. RESULTS: 1. The distribution of dermatoses groups were as follows: pruritus, psychocutaneous disorders, and neurocutaneous dermatoses (36.1%), dermatomycosis and deep mycosis (20.5%), eczema (11.6%), diseases of the skin appendages (3.6%), epidermal and adnexal nevi and tumors (2.1%), drug eruption, erythema, and urticaria (1.8%), and papulosquamous diseases (1.5%). 2. Pruritus (31.6%) was the most frequent dermatosis in all age groups. 3. The frequency of dermatoses related to exposure to Agent Orange were as follows: seborrheic dermatitis (4.8%), chronic urticaria (1.7%), psoriasis vulgaris (1.2%), xerotic eczema (0.5%), photosensitive dermatitis (0.2%), chloracne (0.1%), soft tissue sarcoma (0.1%), and malignant tumors (0.01%). 4. With regard to regional groups of dispatch in Vietnam, QuiNhon (20.1%) was the most frequent area of dispatch. There was no statistically significant difference in frequency of dermatoses related to exposure to Agent Orange between Dian, where larger amounts of Agent Orange were sprayed, and the other regional groups. 5. For duration of dispatch in Vietnam, there was no statistically significant difference in frequency of dermatoses related to exposure to Agent Orange between two groups of duration. CONCLUSION: This study showed the distribution and characteristics of dermatoses of Korean Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange, and may be helpful as the fundamental epidemiologic data of dermatoses of Korean Vietnam veterans for dermatologists to examine.
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