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Definition of Miller's lung

Miller's lung: a type of hypersensitivity pneumonitis in people who are hypersensitive to the granary weevil (the wheat weevil or Sitophilus granarius). Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is a type of inflammation of the lung that develops from breathing in a foreign substance. People who work with grains or flours contaminated with this weevil are at especially high risk for this disease. Hence, the name miller's lung.

Symptoms typically have an acute onset and include fever, cough, chills, and shortness of breath within hours of re-exposure to the weevil. Given no further contact with the weevil, the person's symptoms typically improve over a day or two, but weeks may be need for full recovery.

In the subacute form of miller's lung, a cough and shortness of breath develop over days or weeks and may be so severe as to require hospitalization. With chronic miller's lung from contact with the weevil over months to years, there may be scarring (fibrosis) of the lung with increasing shortness of breath and a cough productive of sputum, progressing over months or years to respiratory failure.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018
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