Spotlight on NZ: Ethnic difference in eczema in New Zealand (GAN Phase1): overcoming management obstacles

Dr Sabrina Sapsford, The University of Auckland, NZ

Atopic eczema remains a significant cause of morbidity in children and adults. Globally, the overall prevalence of atopic eczema is 22.6% (1)and 10% of adults in high income countries may carry the disease through from childhood or develop new eczema(1)(2).

In the Global Asthma Network (GAN) phase 1 study(3, 4) there has been a global increase in the prevalence of current eczema symptoms of 0.98% per decade in adolescents and 1.21% per decade in children, and of 0.26% and 0.23% per decade in severe eczema symptoms(3). Studies have also indicated an increased burden of disease in Māori and Pasifika groups in New Zealand(5).

Despite increased atopic eczema disease burden and recent advances in treatment, research into AE prevention has been slow(6). There may also be barriers to adequate management of AE in vulnerable populations.

Barriers may occur at the level of early treatment commencement, due to issues obtaining adequate assessment and health education. Travel to obtain prescriptions, and purchasing non-prescription treatments may present a financial burden to patients. Inadequate dermatology cover per head population is also a significant barrier to treatment and follow up in New Zealand, where there is estimated to be only 1 dermatologist per 270, 000 people.

In this talk we will consider these barriers to management and factors amenable to intervention.


  • Langan SM, Irvine AD, Weidinger S. Atopic dermatitis. The Lancet. 2020;396(10247):345-60.
  • Abuabara K, Margolis DJ. Do children really outgrow their eczema, or is there more than one eczema? Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2013;132(5):1139-40.
  • Langan SM, Mulick AR, Rutter CE, Silverwood Richard J, Asher I, García-Marcos L, et al. Trends in eczema prevalence in children and adolescents: A Global Asthma Network Phase I Study. Clinical & Experimental Allergy. 2023;53(3):337-52.
  • Mortimer K, Lesosky M, García-Marcos L, Asher MI, Pearce N, Ellwood E, et al. The burden of asthma, hay fever and eczema in adults in 17 countries: GAN Phase I study. European Respiratory Journal. 2022;60(3):2102865-.
  • Asher MI, Montefort S, Björkstén B, Lai CKW, Strachan DP, Weiland SK, et al. Worldwide time trends in the prevalence of symptoms of asthma, allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema in childhood: ISAAC Phases One and Three repeat multicountry cross-sectional surveys. The Lancet. 2006;368(9537):733-43.
  • Williams HC, Chalmers J. Prevention of Atopic Dermatitis. Acta Derm Venereol. 2020;100(12):adv00166.


GAN gratefully acknowledges funding from the University of Auckland and Wellcome (Grant number 203919/Z/16/Z) as well as sponsorship from AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline that has helped to make the GAN Symposium 2024 possible. We thank the speakers and the organisations they represent for their contributions including securing their own funding to enable their participation. The Symposium programme was developed independently by the GAN Steering Group.

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