SWORD '97: surveillance of work-related and occupational respiratory disease in the UK.
SWORD is one of seven clinically based reporting schemes which together now provide almost comprehensive coverage of occupational diseases across the UK. Although SWORD is now in its tenth year, participation rates remain high. Of an estimated 3,903 new cases seen this year, 1,031 (26%) were of occupational asthma, 978 (25%) of mesothelioma, 794 (20%) of non-malignant pleural disease, 336 (9%) of pneumoconiosis and 233 (6%) of inhalation accidents. Incidence rates of occupational asthma were generally highest among workers in the manufacture of wood products, textiles and food (particularly grain products and crustaceans) and additionally, in the production of precious and non-ferrous metals, rubber goods, detergents and perfumes, and in mining. Health care workers were noted to have a surprisingly high incidence of inhalation accidents. Occupational asthma attributed to latex has increased dramatically; the highest rates are among laboratory technicians, shoe workers and health care workers. (+info)
Latex glove allergy among hospital employees: a study in the north-west of England.
The frequency of use and duration of wearing latex gloves among hospital employees has increased due to concerns about AIDS and hepatitis. In many countries there is increased consciousness about latex sensitization. In the UK, the Medical Device Agency has been monitoring latex allergy for a number of years but has not found any conclusive evidence of any significant problem. We report following a detailed questionnaire study in two hospitals in the north-west of England. A total of 1,827 members of staff were questioned about latex allergy at work. One hundred and twenty-four (7%) of these hospital employees had experienced symptoms strongly suggestive of latex allergy. Of this group, 56 had a-RAST test (IgE specific to latex), which was positive in seven (12.5%). There was a history of atopy in 31%, and a family history of atopy in 17% of the individuals. As a result of the study it was found that 17% (21 of the affected individuals) had already changed their working practice by using latex-free gloves. We were able to increase awareness of latex allergy within the hospitals. Both individuals and health care organizations need to be aware of the problem and hospital organizations should encourage staff to seek guidance to address the problem and, if necessary, to take appropriate measures to improve working practices. Practical guidelines are given with regard to identifying the problem and glove use for hospital staff. (+info)
Isolation, characterization, and functional analysis of a novel cDNA clone encoding a small rubber particle protein from Hevea brasiliensis.
Biochemical evidence reported so far suggests that rubber synthesis takes place on the surface of rubber particles suspended in the latex of Hevea brasiliensis. We have isolated and characterized a cDNA clone that encodes a protein tightly bound on a small rubber particle. We named this protein small rubber particle protein (SRPP). Prior to this study, this protein was known as a latex allergen, and only its partial amino acid sequence was reported. Sequence analysis revealed that this protein is highly homologous to the rubber elongation factor and the Phaseolus vulgaris stress-related protein. Southern and Northern analyses indicate that the protein is encoded by a single gene and highly expressed in latex. An allergenicity test using the recombinant protein confirmed that the cloned cDNA encodes the known 24-kDa latex allergen. Neither ethylene stimulation nor wounding changed the transcript level of the SRPP gene in H. brasiliensis. An in vitro rubber assay showed that the protein plays a positive role in rubber biosynthesis. Therefore, it is likely that SRPP is a part of the rubber biosynthesis machinery, if not the rubber polymerase, along with the rubber elongation factor. (+info)
Occupational hazards of dentistry.
Dental professionals are susceptible to a number of occupational hazards. Relying on relevant literature, the present paper discusses selected occupational hazards - occupational biohazards, stressful situations, and latex hypersensitivity, as well as factors leading to the musculoskeletal system diseases and diseases of the peripheral nervous system. (+info)
Health care worker disability due to latex allergy and asthma: a cost analysis.
OBJECTIVES: The reported prevalence of occupational allergy to natural rubber latex is 8% to 17%, and that of latex-induced occupational asthma is 2.5% to 6%. Conversion of medical facilities to "latex-safe" can reduce employee sensitization, impairment, and disability. The purpose of this study was to determine the cost of a latex-safe approach, compared with that of continued latex glove use, and to identify the level of worker disability required to make the latex-safe approach financially preferable to a health care institution. METHODS: The costs of 2 strategies--latex-safe vs the status quo--were calculated from the perspective of 3 health care institutions. A break-even point was calculated for each facility. RESULTS: In all facilities, the cost of using nonlatex gloves exceeded the cost of using latex gloves. In all 3 facilities, however, 1% or fewer of those at risk would have to become fully disabled or fewer than 2% would have to become partially disabled for the continued use of latex gloves to exceed the cost of the latex-safe approach. CONCLUSION: Health care facilities, regardless of size, are likely to benefit financially from becoming latex-safe even if latex-related disability levels are extremely low. (+info)
Evaluation of the quality of surgical gloves among four different manufactures.
A randomized trial was conducted to evaluate the quality of four different brands of surgical gloves in terms of the perforation rate, ventilation, fitness, allergic reaction, elasticity, thickness, powder, and satisfaction. Gloves of four different manufactures which were used by various medical centres were distributed to participants according to a computer-generated randomization table. A structured questionnaire was self-administered by volunteers immediately after the surgical procedure to gather the information from participants, including the demographic data, allergy history, length of use, and variables of quality measures. Two brands, A and D, were significantly inferior to the best manufacture among the four, B, in terms of the ventilation, elasticity, and thickness, odds ratios ranging from 6 to 24, p < 0.05. For the amount of corn starch powder and satisfaction, all three other brands were inferior to brand B, odds ratios ranging from 6 to 44, p < 0.05. Gloves worn longer than 2 hours had a slightly higher perforation rate post procedures (11.5% vs. 2.1%, p = 0.048). The rate of latex allergic reaction was not significantly different between surgeons (8.3%) and the others (6.7%). No difference of the allergic reaction rate was found between subjects with allergy history (7.7%) and those without the history (7.5%). The quality of surgical gloves differs from brand to brand. The government and institutions should take the responsibility of monitoring the quality of surgical gloves in order to provide a safer and more comfortable environment for the surgical personnel and patients. (+info)
Dental surgeons with natural rubber latex allergy: a report of 20 cases.
Latex allergy is becoming a major occupational health issue and dental surgeons are at risk from becoming sensitized to natural rubber latex. A study was conducted to investigate risk factors and glove-related symptoms reported by dentists with natural rubber latex allergy. Twenty dentists, who had undergone serological or dermatological testing for a Type I allergy to latex, were identified from a questionnaire survey. Risk factors investigated were: gender, years in clinical practice, exposure to latex gloves, atopic history and food allergy. The majority of dentists (75%) gave an atopic history. Glove-related adverse reactions ranged from cutaneous to systemic manifestations. All twenty dentists reported itching of the hands in response to latex gloves. One respondent was unable to continue in dental practice because of her glove-related allergies; nineteen dentists were able to continue by using synthetic, non-latex gloves. (+info)
A review of current literature on epidemiology of immediate glove irritation and latex allergy.
Natural rubber latex (NRL) allergy has attained world-wide importance with the diagnosis of glove hypersensitivity, contact urticaria, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, asthma and anaphylaxis. In the present report, the latest literature of the epidemiology of NRL allergy is reviewed, an account on the incidence of NRL allergy (19 new cases of contact urticaria/100,000 workers per year) among health care workers is given and the prevention of NRL allergy is discussed. Among health care workers, NRL allergy has gained prominence particularly with the spread of AIDS and an increase in the use of rubber gloves for barrier protection. For screening NRL allergy, a simple and quick test based on a self-administered questionnaire has been presented, but it needs further evaluation before routine use can commence. Further analytic studies will show if the use of low allergen gloves reduces the incidence of NRL allergy. (+info)