Prevalence of latex allergy in operating room nurses

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1992 Sep;90(3 Pt 1):319-22. doi: 10.1016/s0091-6749(05)80009-0.


The twofold purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of latex sensitivity in a large group of operating room nurses and to evaluate the relationship between questionnaire responses and skin tests. Of the total target population of 268 operating room nurses, 248 (93%) answered the questionnaire and 197 had skin prick tests to latex (1/10 wt/vol solution). Symptoms associated with glove wearing were acknowledged by 41.1% of nurses. Skin tests to latex were positive in 21 nurses (10.7%), 4.4 times more often in atopic nurses. Among nurses complaining of local symptoms, only 18.6% had positive skin tests. Itching of the hands during glove wearing correlated poorly with latex sensitivity, but correlation with local urticaria was better. Atopic nurses complaining of urticaria had latex allergy in 70% of cases. Thus latex allergy is common in nurses, especially atopic nurses. A questionnaire is unreliable in predicting latex sensitivity and must be supported by latex skin test. More data will be needed to assess the risk of anaphylactic perioperative reactions in operating room nurses.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Dermatitis, Contact / epidemiology
  • Dermatitis, Contact / etiology*
  • Dermatitis, Occupational / epidemiology
  • Dermatitis, Occupational / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Latex / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Operating Room Nursing*
  • Prevalence
  • Radioallergosorbent Test
  • Skin Tests


  • Latex