Dogger Bank itch is an allergic contact dermatitis to the (2-hydroxyethyl) dimethylsulphoxonium ion, a metabolite produced by the marine Bryozoan Alcyonidium diaphanum. The condition may become disabling in affected individuals, who are chiefly fishermen and dock labourers. It involves regions of skin directly exposed to sea water and areas where water may course. As A. diaphanum is common in the coastal waters of Britain, Ireland and neighbouring mainland Europe, it is important for dermatologists to be aware of Dogger Bank itch. Data published in 1966 suggested that 7% of trawler-men at the UK port of Lowestoft had the condition. The current epidemiology is unknown, but the disease still occurs despite shrinkage of the fishing industry, and the condition is not confined to North Sea trawler-men as had been thought previously. It has been reported in trawler-men from Le Havre and shell fishermen from Cornwall, and we report it here in a fisherman using fixed nets in the eastern English Channel.
- contact dermatitis
- Alcyonidium gelatinosum