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A family of four from North Wales had a miserable Christmas. Their misfortune began in early December with the sudden death of their two pet lovebirds within 24 h of each other (figure 1). Over the Christmas period they suffered further adversity as the mother developed a flu-like illness with generalised body aches, lethargy and worsening of her prolactinoma headaches. Her 4-year-old daughter developed similar symptoms, while her 2-year-old son was ‘reasonably well but not quite himself’. The father also developed mild flu-like symptoms when he returned home from working away.
At the turn of the New Year their favourite bird, a parrot named Bentley, dropped dead suddenly and unexpectedly. This was the last straw; the mother consulted a diagnostic website.
What is the unifying diagnosis, for bird and human? What historical resonances does the case have? Why is this diagnosis easily missed?
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