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Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2002 May;24(2):315-34.

Latex hypersensitivity: personal data and review of the literature.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Immunology and Infectious Diseases, University of Bari, Italy.


Latex allergy is an increasingly common condition, because use of latex products is widespread. The reactions to latex manufactures can be classified as allergic and non-allergic, these are the most common. Latex proteins are responsible for immediate IgE-mediated hypersensitivity allergic reactions. Symptoms range from rhinitis, conjunctivitis and urticaria to anaphylactic shock. Chemical additives can cause allergic contact dermatitis. The clinical symptoms of latex allergy could arise from direct contact with latex products, but may also result from inhalation of airborne allergens. Subpopulations at particular risk include: atopics, children with spina bifida or individuals who required frequent surgical instrumentations, health care workers, and all persons who have regular contact with latex products. Diagnosis of allergy is based initially on history: search for specific serum IgE, skin prick test and provocation test may confirm the suspicion. The most effective strategy in the treatment of latex allergy is avoidance, however this is virtually impossible, given large number of latex products we encounter since childhood. In this paper we review the current state of knowledge concerning latex allergy, including the clinical spectrum, identified allergens, the cross-reactions regarding the latex-fruit syndrome, diagnostic procedures and preventive measures. Several personal data increase awareness on this issue.

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