Epidemiological Studies
  British Pigeon Fanciers Medical Research  

22.08.02 - Understanding the Disease

Process Of Pigeon Fancier’s Allergic Alveolitis.
Current research activity into Pigeon Lung in Scotland: Epidemiological Studies.

Continuation of the epidemiological study started in 1997 with the cooperation of the North West Federation in Scotland.

In 1997, Pigeon Fanciers from the North West Federation in Scotland took part in the first ever epidemiological study of pigeon fanciers. This was the first time that a scientifically accurate and statistically acceptable sample had ever been carried out and was the first attempt to clearly characterise the problem of Pigeon Lung as it occurs within the pigeon fancying community. This was a cross sectional study which looked at a group of fanciers selected by number from the list of members of the North-West Federation and it provided a base from which the latest study was able to be performed to look at a longitudinal follow up 5 years later of those studied initially.

In April – May of this year, those who were involved in the initial study in 1997 were approached and 62 of the original 95 returned to help. They filled out a questionnaire relating to the level of exposure to their pigeons and to any symptoms they developed during or after contact with their pigeons. A blood sample was also taken to look at the level of sensitisation to their pigeons and breathing tests were checked to look at lung function.

We will now be able to compare the results from 5 years ago to determine what changes if any that have occurred over this period of time in both fanciers who are still keeping pigeons and even those who have given up. This will tell us whether or not there are likely to be any long term dangers for pigeon fanciers who have suffered from Pigeon Lung in terms of their lung function and resulting breathing problems. The data are now being analysed so that, hopefully, the completed report will be available by the winter.

This research will add further important information about the long term effects of keeping pigeons and to allow us to develop further research ideas to improve our understanding of the disease process in Pigeon Breeders Lung.

We are very grateful for the cooperation and continued support of the members of North West Federation in Scotland which has enabled this piece of work to be completed.

Gavin Boyd, Din Ismail, Philip Lynch, Charles McSharry
British Pigeon Fanciers Medical Research Trust

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