We describe a family in which the mother died of unresolved lung disease and whose 5 children, some of whom had previous signs of asthma, were subsequently affected by extrinsic allergic alveolitis caused by contact with wild city pigeon antigens. The children received systemic corticosteroids for 1 month and inhaled steroids for 24 months, while antigen exposure was reduced as much as feasible. This was followed by a quick clinical recovery and a slow normalization of chest radiographs and pulmonary function indices, especially of diffusion capacity, during a follow-up of 24 months. Because pigeon-breeder's lung caused by free-roaming city pigeons has not been previously described, it remains unclear whether this family developed the disease because of high antigen exposure or because of increased susceptibility. None of the supposedly high-risk human leukocyte antigen types were found in the children. Whether human leukocyte antigen B7 in 1 child played a role in the course of the illness remains speculative. It is unknown to what extent pigeon-breeder's lung caused by nondomestic birds remains undetected and misdiagnosed as difficult or steroid-resistant asthma. The question remains whether free-roaming city pigeons are indeed a public health risk. We suggest that atypical outdoor antigens be considered in all patients with nonresolving chest disease or therapy-resistant asthma.

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Pediatrics (English Edition)
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

du Marchie Sarvaas, G. J., Merkus, P., & de Jongste, J. (2000). A family with extrinsic allergic alveolitis caused by wild city pigeons: A case report. Pediatrics (English Edition). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/9361