Clinical and occupational outcomes in health care workers with natural rubber latex allergy

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2003 Feb;90(2):209-13. doi: 10.1016/s1081-1206(10)62143-6.


Background: There is limited information pertaining to clinical outcomes and economic consequences of natural rubber latex (NRL) allergy in health care workers (HCWs).

Objective: To evaluate retrospectively health and economic outcomes in HCWs identified with NRL allergy and percutaneous reactivity to NRL.

Methods: Sixty-seven HCWs with NRL allergy, confirmed by percutaneous reactivity to non-ammoniated latex (NAL) extract, were administered a detailed questionnaire to evaluate clinical and economic outcomes of active work and environmental interventions subsequent to recognition of work-related symptoms associated with NRL gloves.

Results: Diagnoses based on predetermined case definitions associated with direct or indirect exposure to NRL gloves included contact urticaria in 67 (100%); work-related rhinitis in 23; work-related asthma symptoms in 25; and work-related anaphylaxis in 4 workers. Work related symptoms reportedly resolved in 44 of 49 (90%) of NAL skin test-positive workers who had reported skin, respiratory, and/or systematic symptoms and remained in their current work area and who switched to non-NRL gloves. Four of 24 (17%) workers with work-related asthma symptoms were compelled to change employment to NRL-safe workplaces, resulting in a mean 24% reduction in annual income.

Conclusions: Clinical outcomes in this group of HCWs with NRL allergy were favorable after institution of interventions but incurred deleterious consequences in a minority of workers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / diagnosis
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / economics
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / physiopathology
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Gloves, Protective / adverse effects*
  • Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate* / diagnosis
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate* / economics
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate* / physiopathology
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate* / prevention & control
  • Latex Hypersensitivity* / diagnosis
  • Latex Hypersensitivity* / economics
  • Latex Hypersensitivity* / physiopathology
  • Latex Hypersensitivity* / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / diagnosis
  • Occupational Diseases / economics
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Tests
  • Surveys and Questionnaires