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Asthma and histopathological changes associated with poultry dust exposure

The study assessed the prevalence of symptoms of asthma among Nigerian poultry workers and the possible pathological changes in lung associated with dust exposure through an indirect experimental exposure of poultry dust to albino rats. Questionnaire was developed to elicit data on symptoms of asthma, and administered to 250 poultry workers as well as 100 control subjects. Forty albino rats were divided into 5 groups of 8 rats each, 4 groups were exposed to poultry dust in an exposure chamber, while the fifth group served as control. The histopathological features of lungs of the exposed rats include cells infiltration in alveoli, interstitial cells infiltration, alveolar wall thickening and granuloma formation. In most cases, necrosis and breaking of alveolar walls to form large zones were observed in the lungs of the exposed rats. Vasodilatation and fibrosis of the lungs were equally observed. The degree of lungs inflammation or degeneration was found to be positively correlated with duration of exposure to poultry dust (r = +0.918, p < 0.05). Significantly higher prevalence of sputum, cough, difficulty in breathing, tightness of chest and wheezing were obtained for poultry workers than the control populace. The result indicates that prolonged inhalation of poultry dust can result in extrinsic allergic alveolitis with prevalence of symptoms of asthma

Author(s): Pius A. Okiki, Peter T. Olagbemide and Anthony O. Ogbimi

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