Prevalence of latex sensitization among hospital physicians occupationally exposed to latex gloves

Anesthesiology. 1992 Nov;77(5):905-8. doi: 10.1097/00000542-199211000-00011.


Patients undergoing surgery who have a history of occupational exposure to latex gloves may be predisposed to intraoperative anaphylaxis caused by latex allergy. Thus, medical personnel who routinely wear latex gloves may be at higher risk than the general population. The prevalence of latex sensitization has not been reported previously among physicians using latex gloves in a North American hospital setting. Using a latex skin prick test (SPT), we determined the prevalence of latex sensitization among 101 staff anesthesiologists, radiologists, and surgeons who regularly use latex gloves and among 100 atopic controls who were not occupationally exposed to latex gloves. Latex SPT was positive in 10 of 101 physicians (rho = 0.099; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.041, 0.157) and 3 of 100 controls. Subgroup analysis showed that 9 of 38 atopic physicians were SPT-positive (rho = 0.237; 95% CI 0.102, 0.372). Atopic physicians were more likely to be latex SPT-positive than either nonatopic physicians or atopic controls (atopic vs. nonatopic physicians: P = 0.0006, odds ratio = 19.2, 95% CI 15.4, 23.1; atopic physicians vs. atopic controls: P = 0.0005, odds ratio = 9.1, 95% CI 7.5, 11.6). We conclude that compared to nonatopic physicians exposed to latex, or nonexposed atopic controls, atopic physicians who wear latex gloves are at increased risk of latex allergy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Gloves, Surgical / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Personnel, Hospital*
  • Physicians*
  • Prevalence
  • Rubber / adverse effects*


  • Rubber