Authors: M.E. Ratshikhopha, T.S. Singh, D. Jones, M.F. Jeebhy, A.L Lopata

Source: S Afr Med J 2015;105(1):43-46


Introduction: Gloves made of natural rubber latex (NRL) are commonly used by healthcare workers because of their good qualities. However, allergic reactions to latex allergens are still commonly reported.

Objective: To measure the concentrations of Hev b 1, Hev b 3, Hev b 5 and Hev b 6.02 allergens in gloves used by a large laboratory service in South Africa.

Methods: NRL gloves as well as non-latex gloves supplied by various suppliers that were used by the laboratory personnel during the period June 2009 – May 2010 were obtained from various suppliers on the vendor list. Proteins were extracted from the gloves and Hev b 1, Hev b 3, Hev b 5 and Hev b 6.02 allergens were quantified using the FITkit assay.

Results: Twenty NRL gloves from 13 different brands were analysed. Only four (20%) of the 20 NRL gloves analysed had a total allergen content <0.15 μg/g, the suggested threshold limit for low allergenicity for the sum of these four allergens.

Conclusion: This study demonstrated that a very low proportion of gloves tested had a total allergen content below the threshold for low allergenicity.