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Prevalence of type I allergy to natural rubber latex and type IV allergy to latex and rubber additives in operating room staff with glove-related symptoms

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There is lack of data on the prevalence of latex allergy in the health care setting in Iran. This study was performed to determine the prevalence of type I latex allergy and type IV allergy to latex and rubber additives among the operating room staff with glove-related symptoms in 13 general hospitals in Tehran. Skin-prick tests with commercial latex extract, patch tests with latex and 25 rubber additive series, and total and latex-specific IgE detection were performed on the operating room staff who reported latex glove-related symptoms. Five hundred twelve self-administered questionnaires (100%) were completed by all operating room staff and latex glove-related symptoms were reported by 59 (11.5%) employees. Among all symptomatic operating room staff tested, the prevalence of type I latex allergy was 30.5% and the prevalence rates of type IV allergy to latex and rubber additives were 16.7 and 14.6%, respectively. The most positive patch test result with rubber additives was related to tetramethylthiuram monosulfide (38.5%). The risk factors for type I latex allergy were female sex (p = 0.009) and positive patch test with rubber additives (p = 0.012). Subjects who had positive patch test with latex were significantly more likely to have positive patch test with rubber additives (p < 0.0001). Our results showed a high prevalence of type I latex allergy and type IV allergy to latex and rubber additives. Based on this study, we recommend eliminating powdered latex gloves from the operating rooms of the 13 studied general hospitals and support the substitution of powder-free latex gloves.

Keywords: Allergy; contact dermatitis; glove-related symptoms; natural rubber latex; operating room staff; patch test; prevalence; rubber additives; skin prick test; tetramethylthiuram monosulfide

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: From the Department of Laboratory Medicine, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, 2: Immunology, Asthma, and Allergy Research Institute, Medical Sciences/University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran, 3: Department of Biostatistics, School of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modarres University, Tehran, Iran, and 4: Center for Research and Training in Skin Disease and Leprosy, Medical Sciences/University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

Publication date: 2007-09-01

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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.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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