Occupational Asthma Reference

Valentino M, Pizzichini MA, Monaco F et al, Latex-induced asthma in four healthcare workers in a regional hospital, Occup Med (London), 1994;44:161-164,


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Hypersensitivity to latex gloves has often been reported in patients who have undergone surgical treatment. Recent reports suggest that latex antigens can produce cutaneous and respiratory symptoms in workers occupationally exposed to latex. Four such cases of healthcare workers who were sensitized through exposure to latex have been observed. Two of these workers presented dermatitis as well as work-related respiratory symptoms, while the others only showed symptoms suggesting occupational asthma. The subjects were diagnosed as having latex hypersensitivity after skin prick-testing, and the immunoglobulin E serum level against latex gave positive results. In addition, changes in methacholine responsiveness also took place. In one case, an occupational exposure test was carried out which resulted in a 24% drop in the FEV1 value after 25 min of inhalation exposure. At least one year after the diagnosis, two nurses (subjects A and D) who had been removed completely from latex exposure experienced no further latex-induced symptoms. The other workers, who have continued working in the same laboratories using vinyl gloves, now display less severe symptoms but require regular anti-allergy treatment.

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