Medical Definition of Miller's lung

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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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