23. October 2020
Higher prevalence of atopic dermatitis in eastern Germany than in the west

In 2018, atopic dermatitis was diagnosed in 5.54 percent of the population of Saxony, followed by Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg. The lowest rates were in Bavaria and Schleswig-Holstein. This was the outcome of an analysis conducted by Barmer.

“The relatively high prevalence of atopic dermatitis in eastern Germany may also be linked to increased local levels of isolated pollen species, as was the case in 2018”, says Dr Utta Petzold, dermatologist at Barmer Substitute Funds. Up to 80 per cent of atopic dermatitis patients react to environmental allergens such as pollen, which can then trigger eczema flare-ups.

Prevalence of atopic dermatitis in Germany

More than 3.6 million people in Germany were diagnosed with atopic dermatitis in 2018.


Infants in particular were affected: 14.22 per cent of boys aged between one and five had atopic dermatitis and 12.3 per cent of girls of the same age group.  This was equivalent to more than 226,000 boys and nearly 186,000 girls.


Among five to nine-year-olds, the rates were 9.91 per cent for boys and 9.81 per cent for girls, and therefore the same.


Between the ages of 10 and 85, women were more likely to suffer from atopic dermatitis than men. There was a particularly marked difference between the ages of 40 and 45. One possible explanation for this is hormonal influences. This could explain why the prevalence is higher in boys before puberty and higher in women after that.



Barmer online editor. Barmer-Analyse – Vor allem Kinder und Frauen leiden unter Neurodermitis (Barmer analysis – children and women more likely to suffer from atopic dermatitis. Barmer press release from 29 September 2020. (In German)