The prevalence of anti-latex IgE antibodies in 1000 volunteer blood donors

Dennis R. Ownby, Helen E. Ownby, Judith McCullough, A. William Shafer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Background: Latex allergy has been recognized as a medical problem with increasing frequency since the mid 1980s. Although certain groups of individuals, such as health care workers, have been recognized as having increased risk for latex allergy, little is known about the prevalence of latex allergy in the general population. Methods: To estimate the prevalence of latex allergy among healthy adults, we measured anti-latex IgE antibodies in residual serum samples from 1000 volunteer Red Cross blood donors. The 1000 samples were from a sample of blood units collected from workplace mobile sites throughout Southeastern Michigan. Samples collected from mobile sites operating at health care institutions were excluded to minimize sampling of health care workers. Anti-latex IgE antibodies were measured by using the AlaSTAT assay (Diagnostic Products Corp., Los Angeles, Calif.) according to the manufacturer's directions. Samples with anti-latex IgE concentrations of 0.35 IU/ml or greater were classified as positive and samples with IgE concentrations of 1.50 IU/ml or greater were classified as strongly positive. All positive samples were assayed a second time to confirm the result. All positive samples were also measured with the CAP assay (Pharmacia Diagnostics, Dublin, Ohio). Results: the samples tested were from donors with a mean age of 37.8 years, and 47% were women. Sixty-four (6.4%, 95% confidence interval = 4.9-8.1%) of the samples were confirmed as repeatedly positive for anti-latex IgE, and 23 of the 64 positive samples were strongly positive (2.3% of the 1000). Sixty-one percent of the samples positive as determined by the AlaSTAT assay were also positive as determined by the CAP assay. Samples from male donors were more likely to be positive than those from female donors (8.7% vs 4.1%, p = 0.003). Prevalence of positive samples was not related to age or race. Conclusions: We conclude that the prevalence of detectable anti-latex IgE antibodies, in a large and relatively unselected adult population, is higher than previous estimates have suggested. Although the clinical significance of these observations needs further evaluation, the data suggest that latex allergy is not confined to individuals in previously recognized high-risk groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1188-1192
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Latex allergy
  • anti-latex IgE antibodies
  • prevalence
  • volunteer blood donors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'The prevalence of anti-latex IgE antibodies in 1000 volunteer blood donors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this