n Farmer’s Weekly - Part 3 of 7 Parrot fever and enzootic abortion - special focus

Volume 2018 Number 18014
  • ISSN : 0041-848X



Psittacosis, most commonly known as parrot fever, can be contracted by people who come into close contact with birds, and more particularly those birds of the parrot (Psittacidae) family. The bacteria that causes pstittacosis is Chlamydophila psittaci. Infections occur naturally worldwide and have been identified in at least 400 avian species, particularly caged birds, colonial nesting birds, raptors, ratites and poultry. Pigeons, turkeys and ducks are most often affected. Among caged birds affected, more than 70% belong to the parrot family. For practical purposes, all species of birds are a potential source of infection, although the prevalence of infection is significantly greater in caged birds than in wild ones. Some birds carry C. psittaci asymptomatically. Others become mildly to severely ill, either immediately or after they have been stressed by nutritional deficiencies, handling or overcrowding. C. psittaci lives within the host animal’s cells. In people, parrot fever is readily treated with antibiotics, but can be fatal if left untreated. The disease is also known as bird fever and avian chlamydiosis.

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