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3 November 2017
Psittacosis  

Causative agent

Psittacosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria called Chlamydophila psittaci.

Clinical features

Common symptoms include fever, headache, rash, muscle pain, chills and dry cough. Pneumonia may sometimes occur. Encephalitis, myocarditis and thrombophlebitis are occasional complications.

Mode of transmission

The disease is usually transmitted to humans by inhaling the agent from dried droppings or secretions of infected birds. Although all birds can transmit the disease to human, pet birds, e.g. parrots, cockatiels, parakeets, macaws and poultry (turkeys and ducks) are most frequently involved. Apparently healthy birds can be carriers and shed the infectious agent, particularly when subjected to stress through crowding and shipping. The disease is not normally transmitted from person to person.

Incubation period

The incubation period ranges from 1 – 4 weeks.

Management

Psittacosis can be treated with antibiotics effectively.

Prevention

  1. Maintain good personal and environmental hygiene.
     
  2. Wear gloves and a surgical mask when handling droppings or secretions of birds.
     
  3. Wash hands thoroughly after handling birds.
     
  4. Avoid close contact with birds.
     
  5. Disinfect bird cage and surfaces contaminated by bird droppings or secretions.
     
  6. Seek medical treatment if symptoms develop.
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