Dermatoses in Latin American immigrants seen in a tertiary hospital

Eur J Dermatol. Mar-Apr 2009;19(2):157-62. doi: 10.1684/ejd.2008.0600. Epub 2008 Dec 23.


Europe, and in particular Spain, has become the destination of a considerable number of immigrants, 50% come from Latin America. The purpose of this study was to describe the cases of dermatoses seen in the immigrant Latin American population and compare them with those found in the control Spanish population. Over a year all the visits of economic immigrants seen in the Dermatology Section of the Hospital General Universitario de Alicante were prospectively recorded. During the study period 706 Latin American patients were seen. The most frequent dermatoses were eczema (18.2%), acne (6.5%) and non-genital viral warts (6.3%). The comparative study of dermatoses adjusted for age and sex, found a greater frequency of eczema, alopecia, melasma, herpes simplex, pilar keratosis, xerosis, and scabies (p < 0.01) in the Latin American population. On the other hand, melanocytic nevi and melanoma were less frequent in these patients (p < 0.05). We may say that the skin type and socio-sanitary conditions of the Latin American immigrant population lead to a greater frequency of eczema, melasma and scabies. In addition, the skin type and younger age favour a lower frequency of skin tumours.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emigrants and Immigrants
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Latin America / ethnology
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Spain / epidemiology