Occupational generalized urticaria and anaphylaxis after inhalation of cefuroxime in a nurse

American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Rolf MergetThomas Brüning

Abstract

We present the case of a 53 years old nonatopic female nurse who experienced repeated anaphylactic reactions at work without involvement in drug-specific tasks such as crushing of tablets or preparation of injections. The causal allergen was not identified until a further severe anaphylactic reaction occurred after oral use of cefuroxime during a respiratory infection. Sensitization to cefuroxime was demonstrated by specific IgE, basophil activation test and skin prick test. An inhalation challenge with a dosimeter induced generalized urticaria after a cumulative dose of about 10 μg of the drug, but no asthmatic reaction. Complete exposure cessation was initiated and a 1-year follow-up was without further allergic reactions. We conclude that work-related systemic allergic reactions to β-lactam antibiotics may occur in nurses after inhalation of low doses and without perceived association with drug-specific tasks like handling of antibiotics.

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