Occupational Asthma Reference

Bernstein DI, Karnani R, Biagini RE, Bernstein CK, Murphy K, Berendts B, Bernstein JA, I L. Bernstein IL, Clinical and occupational outcomes in health care workers with natural rubber latex allergy, Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol, 2003;90:209-213,


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David Bernstein, Cincinatti David Bernstein

Leonard Bernstein, Cincinatti Leonard Bernstein

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Background: There is limited information pertaining to clinical outcomes and economic consequences of natural rubber latex (NRL) allergy in health care workers (HCWs).

Objective: To evaluate retrospectively health and economic outcomes in HCWs identified with NRL allergy and percutaneous reactivity to NRL.

Methods: Sixty-seven HCWs with NRL allergy, confirmed by percutaneous reactivity to non-ammoniated latex (NAL) extract, were administered a detailed questionnaire to evaluate clinical and economic outcomes of active work and environmental interventions subsequent to recognition of work-related symptoms associated with NRL gloves.

Results: Diagnoses based on predetermined case definitions associated with direct or indirect exposure to NRL gloves included contact urticaria in 67 (100%); work-related rhinitis in 23; work-related asthma symptoms in 25; and work-related anaphylaxis in 4 workers. Work related symptoms reportedly resolved in 44 of 49 (90%) of NAL skin test-positive workers who had reported skin, respiratory, and/or systematic symptoms and remained in their current work area and who switched to non-NRL gloves. Four of 24 (17%) workers with work-related asthma symptoms were compelled to change employment to NRL-safe workplaces, resulting in a mean 24% reduction in annual income.

Conclusions: Clinical outcomes in this group of HCWs with NRL allergy were favorable after institution of interventions but incurred deleterious consequences in a minority of workers.

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