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Latex Allergy Testing in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

For Release: January 28, 1997

General information

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is one of the national data systems of the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, used to monitor the health of the Nation. The survey consists of standardized physical examinations, health interviews, and laboratory testing to provide data on the health and nutritional status of the population. The survey produces data on a wide range of diseases and conditions, risk factors and health behaviors, physiological and body measurements, and environmental exposures. NHANES III was conducted in two 3-year phases from 1988-1994.

Data availability

Data from NHANES III are now available on a CD-ROM (NCHS CD-ROM Series 11, No. 1A), which contains the responses from the adult and child questionnaires, the medical examination findings, and the laboratory results for the 30,000 individuals who participated in NHANES III. Results from the latex allergy testing are included on this CD-ROM. The NHANES Reference Manuals and Reports CD-ROM describe the survey’s procedures, methods, sample design, and other general background information. Specific information on the methods used in the latex allergy testing is shown below. Contact the NCHS Data Dissemination Branch at (301) 436-8500 for ordering information or visit the NCHS home page for more information.

Latex allergy testing

The latex allergy test was measured on a nationally representative sample of persons aged 17-60 years during the 1988-91 (phase 1) portion of the NHANES III survey. The NHANES III sample design is described in detail on the public release CD-ROM.

Sera collected from NHANES participants was screened for latex-specific IgE, using the AlaStat immunoassay (AlaStat-EIA, Diagnostic Products Corporation, Los Angeles, CA). Although NHANES survey data does not include specific information on symptoms due to latex, participants will be classified as sensitized or not sensitized based on the level of detectable latex-specific IgE in sera, using cutoffs designated by the manufacturers.

The AlaStat assay is a commercially-available, liquid-phased, enzyme-labeled, immunometric assay that is unique among assays in using a soluble allergen matrix to absorb the allergen-specific IgE in a sample. Testing was done at the Hospital Infections Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA.