William W. Merrill, MD
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Merrill WW. Flock Worker's Lung. Ann Intern Med. 1999;130:615. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-130-7-199904060-00010
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1999;130(7):615.
TO THE EDITOR:
Reports of new health problems related to occupational exposure are usually controversial. The reports, however well-intended, have two troublesome qualities. They describe something novel, and they cast a broad net, making careful interpretation difficult. Furthermore, they attack the livelihood of workers and employers. The tendency to “shoot the messenger” is, perhaps, understandable.
Kern and colleagues' paper on flock worker's lung (1) is no exception. These authors were liberal in their definition of a case. Thus, the material described has a random quality. Cases with eosinophilic lavage cell reactions were lumped with those that had lymphocyte predominance. Almost any lung disease seemed to fit the inclusion criteria, and steps taken to exclude patients with known diseases were not carefully described.
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