Background: According to studies from different countries, the prevalence of natural rubber latex (NRL) sensitization in healthcare workers ranges from 2.9 to 17%. The incidence and prevalence of sensitization and allergy to NRL in Thailand is limited to two studies. There is no study among the high risk healthcare workers.
Objectives: 1) To estimate the prevalence of natural rubber latex (NRL) glove allergy and NRL sensitization among nurses; 2) To describe its clinical symptoms.
Material and method: Included in the present study were 412 nursing and medical record staff. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect personal biodata and individual allergy histories to NRL products. Skin prick tests (SPTs) with the commercial NRL allergens; Stallergènes, S.A, Fresnes, France, and common environmental allergens, were performed.
Results: The questionnaire response rate was 88% (412/470), 93% females. The response rate of SPT was 72% (295/412) (95%CI 67.2, 76.0). The prevalence of NRL glove allergic symptoms and NRL sensitization was 24% (95%CI 19.9, 28.1) and 2% (95%CI 0.4, 3.6), respectively. The mostfrequently reported symptoms among the positive SPT to NRL was angioedema. Five of the six NRL sensitised subjects had had high exposure to NRL.
Conclusion: NRL sensitization among Thai nursing staff is less prevalent than in healthcare workers in Europe.