Atopie dermatitis (AD) is a chronically relapsing inflammatory skin disease that frequently occurs in patients with a personal or family history of asthma and/or allergic rhinitis. Chronic AD may result in significant morbidity, including hospitalization for control of skin disease and infection, school days lost, psychologic trauma from physical disfigurement, occupational disability, and the need for long-term medications. Patients with AD have an increased susceptibility to cutaneous infections with bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Patients with AD have been reported to have a higher-than-normal incidence of cutaneous infection with herpes simplex, vaccinia, and Coxsackie A16 viruses. The histopathology of AD depends on the type of skin lesion selected for study. Acute lesions are characterized by epidermal psoriasiform hyperplasia, intercellular edema with vesicles, and a dermal perivascular infiltrate composed predominantly of lymphocytes, monocytes, and macrophages. Abnormalities of T-cell function may contribute to the elevated serum IgE levels and eczematoid rashes observed in AD.