Prevalence and risk factors for latex allergy: A cross sectional study on health-care workers of an Italian hospital

Cl Suli, M. Parziale, M. Lorini, E. De Silva, A. Miadonna, A. Tedeschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The aim of this study was to determine prevalence and risk factors for latex hypersensitivity among health care workers (HCW) of an Italian general hospital. Methods: 1747 HCW of the Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico of Milan were asked to fill in a questionnaire regarding latex-related manifestations (LRM) and personal medical history, and latex-specific IgE were measured by RAST-Cap system. Results: 672 out of 1747 HCW (38.4%) answered to the questionnaire. LRM were reported by 168 out of 672 HCW (25%). The most common manifestation was hand dermatitis and itching (86.3%), followed by urticaria (3.5%), eczema (3.5%) and respiratory symptoms (2.9%). Among the HCW with LRM, 75 (44.6%) reported a personal history of atopy and 24 (14.3%) reported oral allergy syndrome, most commonly related to kiwi, tomato, peach and melon/watermelon. Latex-specific IgE were found in 62 out of 1747 HCW (3.6%). Among the subjects answering the questionnaire, latex-specific IgE positivity was associated with occurrence of LRM (most commonly allergic contact dermatitis) anda and a longer professional exposure. The risk of latex IgE sensitisation was four times higher in HCW reporting atopic manifestations than in HCW without atopic disorders. Prevalence of LRM and latex-specific IgE was significantly higher among workers of auxiliary staff than among other job categories. The highest latex-specific IgE levels were found in subjects with severe latex-related symptoms and a personal history of atopy. Conclusions: A high prevalence of LRM was found among the HCW of an Italian general hospital, although a true latex sensitisation was detected only in a minority of cases. Members of the auxiliary staff, who wear latex gloves for several hours a day, had an increased prevalence of LRM and latex sensitisation. Atopy was a major risk factor for LRM and latex-specific IgE response.


  • Allergy
  • Health-care workers
  • IgE
  • Latex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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