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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Bird the Cause of Problem??

09/02/2009

Question:

I have been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis; the conditon caused, according to one specialist, by a dove we had for many years. THe bird has been gone since late 2008 yet the symptoms came back after he was removed from the house...and I wound up in the hospital again. Does that make sense....after the bird was long gone?????????? thank you dodger

Answer:

Interstitial lung disease due to bird feather exposure is a form of "hypersensitivity pneumonitis". There are many other substances that can cause this condition, but birds are one of the most common. If the birds are removed promptly, the lungs can recover completely, but if there is a long exposure to birds, then scar can build up in the lungs that will not go away when the birds are removed.

There can be other sources of feather exposures to persons who are sensitive to them including the ventilation ducts in rooms that birds have been kept in, air filters in heating systems, feather pillows, and down comforters. All of these sources of feathers and bird proteins need to be eliminated.

Many people ask if it is safe to each poultry and yes, poultry meat is safe for patients with hypersensitivity pneumonitis to eat.

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Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University