• Psittacosis is also known as parrot disease, and is caused by bacteria called Chlamydophila psittaci. 
  • Psittacosis is rare in the United States with as few 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
  • Gulls

If a bird is infected with Psittacosis, they will show certain signs such as:

  • inflammation of the eyes,
  • watery droppings
  • difficulty breathing.

In humans, the symptoms are:

  • bloody coughing
  • headaches
  • fever
  • muscle pain
  • fatigue
  • 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.

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