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Revista Brasileira de Anestesiologia
On-line version ISSN 1806-907X
MATHIAS, Lígia Andrade da Silva Telles et al. Prevalence of signs/symptoms suggestive of latex sensitization in health care workers. Rev. Bras. Anestesiol. [online]. 2006, vol.56, n.2, pp. 137-146. ISSN 1806-907X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-70942006000200005.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: In the literature, the references on adverse reactions to latex products have been significantly increasing for the last few years. However, it lacks Brazilian data regarding the prevalence of latex-related sensitization in health care workers. The objective of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of signs and symptoms suggestive of latex-related sensitization in health care workers. METHODS: Upon approval by the Ethics Committee it were selected a population of subjects from the Institution's departmental workforce: the Surgical Center Cleaning, Accounting and Nursing personnel and the physicians working at the Surgery, Gynecology, Obstetrics, Anesthesiology, Intensive Care Unit and Medical Clinics. After the informed consent has been obtained, the subjects were submitted to a questionnaire on: age, gender, professional category; type and length of time in contact with latex products; type of gloves; signs/symptoms suggestive of latex-related sensitization (LS) in and out of the hospital environment; signs/symptoms suggestive of atopy and food allergy. RESULTS: A total of 326 questionnaires were evaluated (193 women and 133 men, aged between 30 and 73 years old). Out of this total, 75% of interviewees had up to 10-year length of service in their professions. The prevalence of signs/symptoms suggestive of sensitization to latex in the hospital environment, between the group of employees working in the Accounting Sector (therefore not exposed to latex in the workplace) and the remaining employees (exposed to latex products in their working environment) was significantly different (p<0.001). Also, the percentage of signs/symptoms suggestive of LS in the hospital environment was higher in subjects showing higher average time of use of gloves per day. CONCLUSIONS: The present study demonstrated higher prevalence of signs/symptoms suggestive of LS among those workers exposed to latex products in the hospital environment and with higher contact time with any type of gloves. Therefore, it is clear the need to proceed with this research, for laboratorial confirmation of the latex-related sensitization, as well as that a proposal be submitted to the Institution towards the adoption of preventive measures regarding latex-related sensitization issue. Also, a consensus must exist to the fact that the health care workers comprise a population in risk for allergy to latex products.
Keywords : ALERGY [latex]; DISEASES [occupational]; HYPER-SENSIBILITY [latex].