Eosinophilic bronchitis is a recently described condition presenting with chronic cough and sputum eosinophilia without the abnormalities of airway function seen in asthma. The patient, a 48-yr-old male who had never smoked, presented with an isolated chronic cough. He had normal spirometric values, peak flow variability and airway responsiveness, but an induced sputum eosinophil count of 33% (normal <1%). Although his cough improved with inhaled corticosteroids the sputum eosinophilia persisted. Over 2 yrs he developed airflow obstruction, which did not improve following nebulized bronchodilators and a 2-week course of prednisolone 30 mg once daily sufficient to return the sputum eosinophilia to normal (0.5%). It is suggested that the progressive irreversible airflow obstruction was due to persistent structural change to the airway secondary to eosinophilic airway inflammation, and it is further speculated that eosinophilic bronchitis may be a prelude to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in some patients.