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Arch Intern Med. 2001 Apr 23;161(8):1057-64.

Natural rubber latex allergy: a problem of interdisciplinary concern in medicine.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Westfälische Wilhelms Universität, Von Esmarch Strasse 56, 48149 Münster, Germany.


In the past 10 years, IgE-mediated allergy to natural rubber latex has become a significant health problem in industrialized countries, especially among health care workers, patients with congenital malformations, and children with a history of multiple surgical interventions. Curative treatment inducing immunological tolerance in formerly sensitized patients is experimental and not yet generally available. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the seriousness of latex allergy and to understand the risk factors leading to this allergy. Preventive measures are needed to decrease the incidence of natural rubber latex sensitization. This article gives a brief review of the current state of knowledge concerning latex allergy, including a definition of latex, epidemiological data, identified allergens, the clinical spectrum, diagnostic procedures, cross-reactions, preventive measures, the legislative background, and economics.

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