Hazards of the ‘Hard Cash’: Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) is a nonimmunoglobulin E-related immune-mediated parenchymal lung disease. A 45-year-old woman who was a lifelong nonsmoker with a six-month history of frequent episodes of cough and dyspnea was admitted to hospital. She had been working as a money counter for 20 years at a central bank. Bibasilar crackles on lung auscultation, ground-glass opacities and a mosaic pattern on high-resolution computed tomography, restrictive abnormality on pulmonary function tests and mild hypoxemia were the prominent findings. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid analysis revealed a predominance of CD4-positive T cells, and she tested positive on her natural challenge test. She was diagnosed with subacute HP based on established criteria. She was advised to discontinue counting fresh banknotes. Prednisolone was commenced, then tapered to discontinue in the ensuing six months. Clinical and radiological improvement was achieved within two months. To the authors’ knowledge, the present report is the first to describe ‘hard cash HP’, possibly caused by chipping dust or printing dye.