Psittacosis is caused by a type of bacteria. The bacteria is usually passed to people from a sick bird. It may be inhaled through the dust of dried bird droppings from the sick bird. It can also pass when a person touches his or her mouth to the beak of an infected bird.
The bacteria can pass from one person to another. This is rare.
Contact with a pet bird increases the risk of psittacosis.
Other things that raise the risk are:
Certain types of work, such as:
Pet shop employee
Poultry worker and poultry plant worker
Zoo or wildlife worker
Contact with certain birds, such as:
Parrots, and macaws
Parakeets and cockatiels
Turkeys and other poultry
Psittacosis may cause:
Fever and chills
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.
A blood test can confirm the diagnosis. Other body fluids, such as sputum, may be tested. A
may be done to check the lungs.
The goal of treatment is to clear the infection. Psittacosis is treated with antibiotics.
Sometimes severe breathing problems may happen. This is rare but may require a stay in the hospital. Oxygen will make breathing easier. IV antibiotics will also be given.
To reduce the risk of psittacosis:
Wear a mask, gloves, eyewear, and protective clothing when caring for a sick bird.
Avoid mouth-to-beak contact with birds.
Learn about proper bird care and keeping them healthy.
Animal contact compendium 2017. National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians website. Available at: http://www.nasphv.org/Documents/AnimalContactCompendium2017.pdf. Accessed April 2, 2021.
Balsamo G, Maxted AM, et al. Compendium of measures to control chlamydia psittaci infection among humans (psittacosis) and pet birds (avian chlamydiosis), 2017. J Avian Med Surg. 2017;31(3):262-282.
Psittacosis. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety website. Available at: http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/diseases/psittacosis.html. Accessed April 2, 2021.
Psittacosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/pneumonia/atypical/psittacosis.html. Accessed April 2, 2021.
Psittacosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/psittacosis. Accessed April 2, 2021.
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