Bird antigen persistence in the home environment after removal of the bird

Timothy Craig, J. Hershey, R. J M Engler, W. Davis, G. B. Carpenter, K. Salata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) secondary to bird exposure is treated with glucocorticosteroids and avoidance. Despite therapy, symptoms may persist for a prolonged time. Just as cat antigen, Fel d 1, may persist for greater than 20 weeks after cat removal, there may be persistent bird antigen to explain prolonged symptoms in bird HP. It was the intent of this study to determine household distribution and persistence of bird antigen after removal of the bird from the patient's home. The homes of patients with birds were followed serially after bird removal with multiple samples collected using a hand-held vacuum cleaner. Bird antigen levels were determined by an inhibition enzyme-linked immunoassay. In five homes the antigen declined gradually despite extensive environmental control measures, with high levels still detectable at 18 months in one home. This data suggests that high levels of bird antigen can be detected for prolonged periods of time after bird removal and environmental cleanup. The antigen may account for the persistence of disease in some patients with HP. In severe HP, the preferred therapy may be temporary relocation of the patient away from the room in which the bird was housed, in addition to corticosteroids, until the patient's environment is demonstrated to be relatively bird antigen-free.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-512
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of Allergy
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy


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