Childhood Eczema: An Environmental Scan

Childhood Eczema: Research Report

Table of Contents


1.1 Project Background

The purpose of the report titled: Childhood Eczema: An Environmental Scan is to provide significant information required to address key gaps that exist in the response to addressing the issue of childhood eczema. The summary of the environmental scan presents highlights and pertinent information for use in making major strategic and informative decisions. The report is a comprehensive look at the ‘state of affairs’ of eczema with a particular focus on childhood eczema from an epidemiological, clinical, research and resource perspective. This in no way represents an exhaustive presentation of all information available regarding childhood eczema. However, a full methodological description, detailed documentation of research processes and a complete bibliographic resource is included for future reference.

The project to date consists of two distinct parts. One, the background information is a culmination of information from the academic literature, gray literature, pertinent organizations associated with eczema, funding and granting agencies along with other electronic information sources that all provided an overview of the environment where research, clinical activity, programming and information exists surrounding eczema.

Following the environmental scan summary, a discourse is presented where gaps in research and resource needs were identified from the academic and gray literature and selected key informant interviews.

The report includes:

  1. A summary of an environmental scan inclusive of academic literature, gray literature, relevant organizations, electronic information sources and key informant interviews
  2. Bibliographic Resource
  3. A comprehensive resource of electronic sources and organizations relevant to childhood eczema
  4. Summary of key informants and contact information

1.2 State of Affairs: Childhood Eczema

Eczema is a common skin disease characteristic of an inflammatory process whereby the individual suffers from redness, rashes, irritation and itching of the skin. Atopic dermatitis is among a category of allergic diseases that is complex and difficult to manage. The prevalence of childhood eczema has had a dramatic increase in parts of the world in the past 10 years. Global estimates, state 10-15% of the world’s adult population is afflicted with this particular skin disorder. Similarly, 12-25% of children worldwide have eczema (1).

The etiology of eczema remains unknown although scientists and clinicians are beginning to understand the role of genetics, environmental factors and allergies have regarding eczema. Importantly, eczema has become a public health priority both in developing and developed countries (2-5). Notably, experts in the field of allergic disease have stated that it is possible that allergic disease may replace infectious disease in developing countries and should be prioritized and treated as a major public health priority (6;7). Issues surrounding the environmental triggers associated with eczema, complexities of diagnosis, challenges of complex treatment requirements and importantly increased quality of life require further investigation and understanding to reduce the morbidity and burden of illness for children and their families afflicted with eczema.