Becoming increasingly common. Occurs in 1 – 5% of population – in up to 10-30% of health acre workers. Latex proteins are highly allergenic.
3 clinical syndromes:
1) Irritant dermatitis – due to chronic latex exposure. Not immune mediated. Causes chronic dermatitis. In health care workers increases risk for nosocomial infections.
2) Delayed (Type IV) hypersensitivity reaction contact dermatitis. Symptoms usually develop 24-48 hours after exposure. More common in atopic individuals.
3) Immediate (Type 1) hypersensitivity reaction more serious – occurs within minutes of exposure. Mediated by IgE response specific for latex proteins. At risk of anaphylaxis.
Clinical features of delayed and immediate hypersensitivity reactions:
Pruritus of exposed area; oedema of skin; rhinitis; dyspnoea; syncope; light-headedness; abdominal cramping; nausea; vomiting; diarrhoea; rash; urticaria; angioedema; conjunctivitis;