Acta Medica Iranica 2008. 46(1):47-50.

Gh. Pouryaghoub, R. Mehrdad M. M. Mazhari


Latex allergy has become an occupational hazard among healthcare workers. Atopy, intensity and duration of exposure have been recognized as predisposing factors for latex sensitization. Frequency of sensitization varies among countries. So we decided to investigate the prevalence of latex sensitization and potential risk factors among healthcare workers in a general hospital. In a cross sectional study by distributing a questionnaire among 876 employees of a general hospital, we investigated the prevalence of latex allergy and the potential risk factors for latex sensitization. We collected information about occupational history, including specific tasks performed, time of first exposure to latex, number of pairs of gloves used, and duration of weekly exposure. We also investigated the interval between first exposure and onset of symptoms. We asked about pre-existing rhinoconjuctivitis, asthma, atopic and contact dermatitis, hay fever, autoimmune diseases, and food allergies. This survey documented a high prevalence of adverse reaction to all latex containing materials (52.5%). 37.7% of responder had adverse reaction to latex gloves. The highest prevalence of adverse reaction to all latex containing materials was found in the surgical operating room, followed by emergency unit and internal medicine wards. According to this study, frequency of adverse reaction to latex was high among health care workers. This may be due to relatively low response rate, low quality of latex products in Iran, and the method of measurement. Whenever, the need for implementing prevention program, using latex-free methods and training of employees to reduce adverse reaction to latex is apparent.


Latex allergy, latex gloves, natural rubber latex, healthcare workers,

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