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Pulmonary puzzles
The bird it was that died
  1. Hannah Povey,
  2. Duncan Cameron
  1. Department of Paediatrics, Glan Clwyd Hospital, Bodelwyddan, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Hannah Povey, Department of Paediatrics, Glan Clwyd Hospital, Bodelwyddan, LL18 5UJ UK; hannah_p9{at}

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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.

Figure 1

Bentley - the Indian ring-necked parrot. Published with permission from the family who owned Bentley.

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?

ANSWER See page …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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