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Psoriasis patients at increased risk for hospitalization with infectious diseases

People with psoriasis are almost twice as likely as the general population to be hospitalized for an infectious disease, according to a new study in the December 2011 Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Dutch researchers followed a group of 25,742 individuals with psoriasis and more than 128,000 people without the disease for an average of 6 years. They found that twice as many psoriasis patients were hospitalized due to an infectious disease as were the individuals in the general population.

The most frequent infections seen in these psoriasis patients were respiratory tract, abdominal and skin infections. The association was not explained by a patients' recent exposure to systemic drugs, as has been previously suggested.

In addition, the likelihood of developing an infectious disease increased with the severity of the psoriasis. One case of infectious disease occurred among every 148 patients with mild psoriasis (requiring a topical treatment) compared with one in every 82 people with severe forms of the disease (requiring systemic or light therapy treatment).

"Those with more severe psoriasis may… have a higher prevalence of comorbidities, unhealthy lifestyle factors and/or a higher low-grade inflammatory state that can affect their infectious disease susceptibility," the researchers noted.

January 11, 2012