• Psittacosis is also known as parrot disease and is caused by bacteria called Chlamydophila psittaci. 
  • Psittacosis is rare in the United States with as little as 100-200 cases a year.
  • 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.
  • 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 1–2 weeks from infection.
  • Symptoms increase in severity over the course of these 2 weeks.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.