Minimum Prevalence of Latex Hypersensitivity in Health Care Workers
Abstract:Health care workers (HCW) have been shown to be at significant risk for developing latex allergy. Natural rubber latex hypersensitivity has been reported in 2.9 to 17% of health care workers in previously published studies. This study describes the prevalence of latex hypersensitivity in a large cohort of medical center employees. A screening questionnaire was distributed to 1967 employees in six job categories exposed to latex, and 1331 questionnaires were returned (68%) between March and November 1995. Skin and serologic testing was performed on 156 volunteers. Of the 1331 HCWs who completed the screening questionnaire, 290 (21.8%) self-reported contact dermatitis to latex, 67 (5.0%) self-reported urticaria to latex, 163 (12.2%) self-reported rhino-conjunctivitis to latex, and 17 (1.3%) self-reported asthmatic symptoms to latex. Of the total population of 1967 employees, 38 (1.9%) were either skin test or blood test positive and 30 (1.5%) of these 38 were symptomatic around latex. This study suggests a minimum prevalence of IgE-mediated hypersensitivity to latex of 1.5% among medical center employees. Our reported prevalence figures are lower than previously reported, reflecting, in part, reporting methods using a denominator more consistent with the total population at risk. Our study also illustrates the pitfall of relying on self-reporting in making the diagnosis of latex allergy.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1999-11-01
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- Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.
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