Global mortality from conditions with skin manifestations

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Dec;71(6):1137-1143.e17. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2014.08.022. Epub 2014 Oct 3.


Background: Global Burden of Disease Study is a research database containing systematically compiled information from vital statistics and epidemiologic literature to inform research, public policy, and resource allocation.

Objective: We sought to compare mortality among conditions with skin manifestations in 50 developed and 137 developing countries from 1990 to 2010.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study to calculate mean age-standardized mortality (per 100,000 persons) across countries for 10 disease categories with skin manifestations. We compared differences in mortality from these disorders by time period (year 1990 vs year 2010) and by developing versus developed country status.

Results: Melanoma death rates were 5.6 and 4.7 times greater in developed compared with developing countries in 1990 and 2010, respectively. Measles death rates in 1990 and 2010 were 345 and 197 times greater in developing countries, and corresponding syphilis death rates were 33 and 45 times greater.

Limitations: Inability to adjust for patient-, provider-, and geographic-level confounders may limit the accuracy and generalizability of these results.

Conclusion: The mortality burden from skin-related conditions differs between developing and developed countries, with the greatest differences observed for melanoma, measles, and syphilis. These results may help prioritize and optimize efforts to prevent and treat these disorders.

Keywords: Global Burden of Disease Study 2010; basal cell carcinoma; burden of disease; dermatology; developed countries; developing countries; epidemiology; measles; melanoma; mortality; nonmelanoma skin cancer; rate of death; squamous cell carcinoma; syphilis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / mortality*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality*
  • Chickenpox / mortality
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dengue / mortality
  • Developed Countries
  • Developing Countries
  • Global Health*
  • Humans
  • Measles / mortality
  • Melanoma / mortality*
  • Skin Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Syphilis / mortality