[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
March 19, 1982

Acute Exposure to Cotton DustA Case of Mill Fever

JAMA. 1982;247(11):1602-1603. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320360052033

EXPOSURE to cotton dust may cause several syndromes, the best known of which is byssinosis.1 Another syndrome occurring principally in persons unaccustomed to cotton dust exposure is mill fever, which consists of fever, chills, cough, and malaise and which may recur with further exposures until tolerance develops over weeks or months. In 1940 Trice2 described the symptoms of mill fever in persons carding low-grade cotton, but no measurements were included. In 1942 Neal and co-workers3 described similar symptoms in rural mattress makers and proceeded to investigate the effects of low-grade cotton on exposed subjects under experimental conditions. Despite these early reports, mill fever has received scant attention in the scientific literature, and recent studies of cotton exposure have not drawn attention to the acute effects.4,5 Moreover, the important relationship of mill fever to byssinosis remains poorly defined. Following a recent visit to a cotton garnett, by