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Reasons for the increased prevalence of latex allergy

Created: 2/3/2004
Updated: 13/10/2008
There are several theories that attempt to explain the recent increase in the prevalence of latex allergy. The most plausible is the introduction of universal precautions in an effort to prevent the spread of hepatitis B and HIV infections (Centres for Disease Control, 1987). With universal precautions, a single standard of blood and bloody body fluid precautions must be used with all patients at all times, as it is assumed that these fluids are potentially infectious. One of the main ways of complying with universal precautions is through the use of gloves. This has created a growth industry for latex glove production and has resulted in greater exposure of predisposed healthcare workers and patients to latex products.

Another reason for the increased prevalence relates to the greater familiarity with latex allergy and the corresponding increased recognition and reporting of it.

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