Development of latex allergy in children up to 5 years of age - a retrospective analysis of risk factors


*Div. of Pediatric Pneumology and Immunology, University Children's Hospital, Virchow Clinic of Humboldt University, Augusten-burgerPlatz 1, D-13353 Berlin, Germany


The aim of the study was to investigate possible associations between the time course of early sensitization to latex and various life style factors. Of the 398 children from a prospective birth cohort study, 20 (5%) showed specific serum IgE to latex at the age of 5 years. Sensitization started beyond the first year of life and 19 out of 20 sensitized children showed increasing specific IgE-values over time. All 20 sensitized children were atopic (p < 0.00000). Total IgE was significantly higher in the sensitized group (median 394.5 kU/I) than in the non-sensitized group (median 39.2 kU/1) (p < 0.00001). Comparing the latex-sensitized group with the non-sensitized children, there were significantly more operations in the latex group (p < 0.05) during the first 5 years of life. Medical history, certain foods, the use of pacifiers, mattress composition and socio-economic data proved not to be significant risk factors. From our study we conclude that -besides the number of operations and an atopic predisposition - no other definite risk factor for developing sensitization or allergy to latex (such as everyday household objects) can be identified in children up to 5 years of age.