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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1998 May;101(5):621-5.

Prevalence and risk factors of latex sensitization in an unselected pediatric population.

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  • 1A. Meyer Hospital, Department of Pediatrics, University of Florence, Italy.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The prevalence of latex sensitization has been investigated in population groups considered at high risk, but it has not been systematically surveyed among the general population.

OBJECTIVE:

We sought to determine the prevalence of and the risk factors associated with latex sensitization in a general pediatric population.

METHODS:

We investigated 1175 children (mean age +/- SD, 105 +/- 17.5 months) in 11 elementary schools in Tuscany (Italy). All parents answered a questionnaire, and children underwent skin prick tests (SPTs) with latex, six aeroallergens (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, D. farinae, cat, grass pollen, Alternaria tenuis, and Parietaria judaica), three food allergens (milk, egg white, and wheat), and three insect venoms (honeybee, wasp, and Polistes).

RESULTS:

Eight subjects (0.7%; mean age +/- SD, 123 +/- 9.28 months) had positive SPT responses to latex. No children showed allergic reactions to latex. One or more positive SPT responses to aeroallergens were present in 340 children (28.9%); one or more positive SPT responses to food allergens were present in 26 (2.2%); one or more positive SPT responses to aeroallergens, food allergens, or both were present in 353 (30.0%); and one or more positive SPT responses to one or more insect venoms were present in 43 subjects (3.7%). Significant (p < 0.05) risk factors associated with latex sensitization included: positive SPT responses to aeroallergens, food allergens, or both; a positive response to one or more insect venoms; a positive response to mite, milk, egg white, wheat, honeybee venom, wasp venom, Polistes venom, or a combination thereof; and increased age.

CONCLUSION:

This report shows a very low prevalence of latex sensitization with an absence of clinical symptoms to latex. This study demonstrates a significant association between latex sensitization and the presence of one or more positive SPT responses to aeroallergens, food allergens, or both; one or more positive SPT responses to one or more insect venoms; and increased age.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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