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