/Psittacosis (Ornithosis)

Psittacosis (Ornithosis)

What is psittacosis?

Psittacosis is caused by an infection with a bacterium known as Chlamydia psittaci. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Photophobia (the avoidance of light)
  • Cough
  • Muscle aches
  • Either upper or lower respiratory tract disease
  • Pneumonia is common with psittacosis

Who gets psittacosis?

Anyone can get psittacosis if they are infected with the C. psittaci bacteria, and the most common source of these bacteria is infected birds.

The most common birds to be infected are pet birds of the psittacine family, specifically:

  • Parakeets
  • Parrots
  • Lovebirds

Other birds may also be infected such as:

  • Poultry
  • Pigeons
  • Canaries
  • Sea birds

Birds who are infected may appear healthy or sick.

How is psittacosis spread?

Humans become infected with psittacosis when they inhale C. psittaci bacteria that are present in dried bird droppings, feather dust or other secretions of infected birds.

Person-to-person spread of psittacosis is very unlikely.

What are the symptoms of psittacosis?

The symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Photophobia
  • Muscle aches
  • Either upper or lower respiratory tract disease
  • Pneumonia is common with psittacosis

How soon after exposure do symptoms appear?

Symptoms appear from one to four weeks after exposure.

How is psittacosis diagnosed?

Psittacosis is diagnosed through various laboratory tests.

What is the treatment for psittacosis?

Doctors can prescribe antibiotics for psittacosis.

How can psittacosis be prevented?

To prevent psittacosis in humans, it is necessary to prevent the exposure of humans to infected birds. Pet birds (as well as any other pet) should only be purchased from reputable pet stores.

Where can I get more information?

Contact your physician or the Southern Nevada Health District, Office of Epidemiology at (702) 759-1300.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Case definitions for infectious conditions under public health surveillance. MMWR 1997; 46 (No. RR-10):27.

Contact Information

Phone:
(702) 759-1039 orĀ (702) 759-0889

Updated on: August 21, 2018

2018-08-21T10:56:42-07:00