Management of occupational allergy to natural rubber latex in a medical center: The importance of quantitative latex allergen measurement and objective follow-up
When our employees began coming to the Occupational Health Service, Dermatology, and Allergy Clinics with symptoms of allergy to rubber gloves 12 years ago, the Mayo Clinic initiated 3 responses. (1) The Allergic Disease Research Laboratory adapted well-established technology to measure both the IgE antibody specific to natural rubber allergens, and by use of this IgE antibody, the allergens in rubber products and in the air of the workplace. (2) The Division of Allergic Diseases and Internal Medicine reviewed the prevalence and severity of the problem. (3) The Clinical Practice Committee appointed a multidisciplinary task force to implement measures to reduce exposure. The 3 sections of this article describe the Mayo Clinic's experience of successful control of this occupational health problem. Use of only gloves with low or undetectable allergen content greatly reduced the concentration of allergen in the work site, reduced the number of new cases of occupational allergy to rubber, and allowed individuals with latex allergy to work at their usual jobs.
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