Latex allergy symptoms among health care workers: results from a university health and safety surveillance system.
We sought to describe risk factors for latex glove allergy symptoms among health care workers by combining data from an active clinical surveillance program and a comprehensive occupational health surveillance system. A total of 4,584 employers completed a latex allergy questionnaire. Six percent (n = 276) of subjects reported symptoms consistent with latex allergy. Years of latex glove use was a significant risk factor for latex allergy symptoms even after controlling for the effects of atopy, gender, age, race, fruit, and other allergies. Nurses, medical or lab technicians, physician's assistants, other clinical professionals, and housekeepers had the highest prevalence of latex glove allergy symptoms. Forty subjects (0.87%) who were confirmed as having latex sensitization. Sensitizsation may have been underestimated due to use of specific IgE antibody, less sensitive than skin-prick testing, and tiered design leading to laboratory assessment on a subset of the cohort. This surveillance program identified risk factors for latex allergy symptoms. Our findings provide a basis for tailoring future prevention strategies.
Epling, C; Duncan, J; Archibong, E; Østbye, T; Pompeii, LA; Dement, J
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