Health risk in hospitals through airborne allergens for patients presensitised to latex

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Two nurses had to stop practising because of severe work-related allergic respiratory or systemic symptoms. Both developed similar symptoms within a short time when they attended hospitals as outpatients or visitors or consulted a doctor or dentist, even when they had no direct contact with latex articles. The airborne latex allergen concentration in one room that induced symptoms was 128 ng per m3. In skinprick tests both women showed positive reactions to the phosphated cornstarch powder used to prevent latex gloves sticking together, but only when the powder had been in contact with latex. This powder seems a likely vehicle for the airborne latex allergen.

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