Volume 13 (2003) Issue 3 Pages 157-161
Background: Although hand dermatitis represents a common occupational disease among hospital nurses, epidemiologic studies of this nature are comparatively rare in Japan. Methods: We recruited a complete cross-section of nurses from a teaching hospital in central Japan. Data was gathered by means of a self-reported questionnaire, with hand dermatitis symptoms and evaluation criteria drawn from previously validated research. Participants were categorised according to their hospital department during the analysis. Results: A total of 305 questionnaires were successfully completed and returned (response rate: 84%). There were statistically significant differences in hand dermatitis prevalence between the departments (p<0.05), ranging from 6% in psychiatry to 48% in the surgical unit and averaging 35% across the entire group. A history of allergic disease was shown to increase the risk of hand dermatitis (odds ratio=3.7, 95% confidence interval: 2.1 - 6.6). Washing their hands more than 15 times per work shift also increased the risk (odds ratio=2.0, 95% confidence interval: 1.2 - 3.4). Conclusion: This study has shown that hand dermatitis prevalence varies among Japanese nurses depending on their hospital department, and is generally quite high when compared to other reports. J Epidemiol 2003;13:157-161.