INCIDENCE OF LATEX ALLERGY DECREASING

Has there been a decrease in the incidence of latex allergy since the institution of latex precautions in high-risk populations?
—E. Rosellen Dedlow, MSN, BC, ARNP, Gainesville, Fla.

A dramatic decrease in the prevalence of latex allergy after switching to low-allergen, powder-free latex gloves has been shown in two studies (Clin Infect Dis. 2004;38:252-256 and Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2004;4:397-401). A steady decrease in the prevalence of skin latex allergy, specifically from 68 to 21 cases per 100,000 health-care workers since 1998, was noted in a study of seven German university hospitals (J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2002;110:318-323). A similar decrease (from 150 to 27 cases per 100,000 health-care workers per year since 1993) was also noted in a study from the Mayo Clinic (J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2002;110[Suppl 2]:S96-S106).
—Philip R. Cohen, MD (105-19)

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