Author(s): Alketa Bakiri, Skender Skenderaj, Dhimiter Kraja, Elizana Petrela, Doris Mingomataj, and Ervin Ç. Mingomataj
Latex allergy is a common occupational disease among healthcare workers. Selfadministrated questionnaires, physical examination and allergic tests are largely used to assess data about natural history, risk factors, clinical phenotype, etc. The aim of the present study was to determine the prevalence of allergy to latex gloves among dental students and the association between questionnaire items and diagnostic tests. In this prospective study, a total of 240 students completed a self-administrated questionnaire that comprised of a total of different items and gave information about the participants and their glove use, working habits and glove use, signs and symptoms related to glove use, precautions taken to minimize it, etc. Patch test is performed through latex gloves, while skin prick test with a commercial extract. Questionnaire items and diagnostic tests revealed that one-fourth of subjects were suspicious for latex gloves hypersensitivity. Their mean value for skin reactions like contact urticaria, irritant or allergic dermatitis was between 10% and 14%, while for other symptoms the mean value was under 5%. Logistic regression analysis revealed an association between different questionnaire items and positive allergy tests among suspected cases and diagnosed cases of latex allergy, but not with control tests (including between the positive patch test and presence of non-cutaneous symptoms). These findings suggest that respiratory exposure plays an important role on the interaction between different mechanisms during sensitization processes, and that questionnaire statements about latex allergy in combination with positive diagnostic tests can be reliable on the identification of allergic subjects.
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