Asthma in poultry breeders

  • Abattoir employees
  • Poulterer
Animal foodstuffs, Feathers, Mites, Ornithonyssus, Poultry dust.
Incidence: relatively rare. Atopy is often a factor, but non-atopic subjects can be affected. IgE-dependent mechanism. In the case of alveolitis: presence of avian precipitins.
Working in intensive poultry farms. Many allergens are involved: poultry skin, foodstuffs and a particular species of mite: Ornithonyssus. Working in poultry abattoirs (4 cases have been reported).
Rhinitis and asthma develop after several years of exposure to the risk. Alveolitis may also occur.
Diagnostic methods
Skin tests: with the suspect mite (not commercially available).
Immunological assay: RAST with Ornithonyssus extract (special coupling) has been developed, but is not yet commercially available.
Skin prick tests may be positive for chickens and turkey feathers.
Immunological measurements: the RAST Ornithonyssus (special binding) has been performed but is not commercially available at present.
Bronchial provocation test with raw materials (in hospital).


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  3. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 1984,73:265
  4. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 1984,73:56

As in all diagnostic testing, the diagnosis is made by the physican based on both test results and the patient history.