Occupational Asthma Reference

Allmers H, Kirchner B, Huber H, Chen Z, Walther JW, Baur X, The latency period between exposure and the symptoms in allergy to natural latex. Suggestions for prevention, Deutsche Med Wochenschr, 1996;121:823-828,

Keywords: latex, rubber, atopy, urticaria, rhinitis, hospital, oa, exposure, symptoms, prevention

Known Authors

Xaver Baur, Institute of occupational medicine, Hamburg Xaver Baur

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BASIC PROBLEM AND OBJECTIVE OF STUDY. Among persons working in the health care system allergies caused by natural rubber latex (NRL) are more common than among the general population, because the frequent use of latex gloves and other latex articles may cause sensitisation. A retrospective study was undertaken to determine the period before such an allergy occurs.

PATIENTS AND METHODS. 63 patients (53 women and 10 men; mean age 31.3 +/- 8.3 years) with symptoms of type 1 (immediate response; IgE-mediated) allergy to NRL filled in a special questionnaire asking, among other items, about occupational history, duration and frequency of contact with latex gloves, as well as the course of occupational or other symptoms. All but five of the group had been in their job for less than 15 years. A prick test with 21 ubiquitous environmental allergens was performed on 62 of the patients.

RESULTS. Two thirds of the patients had atopy. First symptoms of an allergy to latex developed at an average of 5 years (58.7 +/- 59.3 months) after starting work involving contact with latex products. In 59 persons the first symptoms were contact urticaria, in some together with rhinitis or dyspnea. The interval until onset of symptoms relating to the lower respiratory tract averaged a further 25.3 +/- 34.6 months. Symptoms developed earlier in patients with atopy than in those without (51.9 +/- 54.3 vs 76 +/- 69 months).

CONCLUSIONS. The use of powdered natural rubber latex gloves should be discontinued to prevent the increasing incidence of sensitization to aerogenic latex and to protect those already sensitized from developing allergic bronchial asthma

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