The prevalence of chronic bronchitis and its relationship to antigenic exposure was studied in a population of pigeon fanciers. Two hundred and eighty seven fanciers completed a questionnaire regarding symptoms and circumstances of avian exposure and had IgG antibody to pigeon gammaglobulin measured by an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Chronic bronchitis occurred in 26.2 percent of nonsmoking fanciers and increased in prevalence as antibody levels rose (p less than 0.001). Although significantly more common (p less than 0.005) in the 85 (29.6 percent) fanciers who also had typical delayed symptoms of pigeon breeders' disease (PBD), chronic bronchitis was the only manifestation of the disease in 24 (8.4 percent) of the population surveyed. Chronic bronchitis was not related to the intensity or duration of avian exposure suggesting that host factors are more important in its pathogenesis. Chronic bronchitis must be considered to be an integral part of the clinical spectrum of PBD.