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Psittacosis

DESCRIPTION

Psittacosis is also known as parrot disease and is caused by bacteria called Chlamydophila psittaci.

LOCATION

Psittacosis is rare in the United States with as little as 100-200 cases a year.

CAUSE

The bacterium that causes Psittacosis is found in bird droppings and consequently these birds infect humans. Common birds that carry Psittacosis are parrots, hens, ducks, pigeons, sparrows, and gulls.

SYMPTOMS

If a bird is infected with Psittacosis, they will show certain signs such as inflammation of the eyes, watery droppings and difficulty breathing. In humans the symptoms are bloody coughing, headaches, fever, muscle pain, fatigue, and shortness of breath. These symptoms appear anywhere between 1 to 2 weeks from infection. Symptoms increase in severity over the course of these 2 weeks.

TREATMENT

Doses of antibiotics can be given to birds with Psittacosis. These are usually injected or put in their food and water. Treatment for humans involves proper diagnosis through tests and cultures from blood and respiratory secretions. These can include blood cultures, x-rays, CT scans, and spectrum cultures. After diagnosis, antibiotics can help cure the infection. Early diagnosis is very important in humans. Seek medical attention at the first sign of symptoms because they get worse over time.

PREVENTION

Humans should avoid contact with birds that may carry the bacteria. Imported parrots are common carriers of the bacteria. If you have a weak immune system take extra precaution.

HANDLING
ANIMALS

Those that are in contact with these types of birds have a higher risk of getting infected. These include pet owners, pet store workers, zoo workers and handlers. If you have pet birds or are a veterinarian, know the signs of Psittacosis.

OTHER FACTS

Prolonged infection can result in serious health problems. Heart valve infection, inflammation of the liver, and decreased lung function are common problems.

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