Here we can see, “Parrot Fever (Psittacosis)”
A few diseases terrify people more than others when their names are mentioned, and regrettably, psittacosis is one of them. Psittacosis, also known as parrot fever or avian chlamydiosis, is a zoonotic illness that is easily spread and can be seen in various pet birds, including macaws and parakeets.
What Is Psittacosis?
Psittacosis is a disease that affects over 400 bird and mammalian species. It is caused by the bacteria Chlamydophila psittaci, Chlamydophila avium, or Chlamydophila gallinacea (although other bacteria are suspected to be involved). It is spread from sick birds to other birds or mammals (including humans). C. psittaci is the most common bacterium found in pet psittacines like parrots and is used to diagnose them.
What Causes Psittacosis in Birds?
To contract psittacosis, a bird does not need to contact another bird that has been infected with one of the bacterium kinds that causes the disease, although it is a simple method for them to do so. They may also come into contact with someone or something that has been exposed to an infected bird. Spores can infect healthy birds on food and water bowls, airborne particles, feathers, dung, and other materials that have come into touch with a bird with psittacosis. Being in the same room like a sick bird with insufficient ventilation might also infect your pet bird.
What Are the Symptoms of Psittacosis in Birds?
Psittacosis in birds manifests itself in various ways, but it can also go undiscovered and remain dormant inside a bird. Psittacosis produces puffy and inflamed eyes (conjunctivitis), lethargy, anorexia, weight loss, fluffed feathers, nasal discharge, and an enlarged liver in asymptomatic birds (display no symptoms) until they are agitated. In some bird species, it can also induce diarrhea and respiratory problems. Acutely infected birds (those who contact an infected bird or item) will begin to display symptoms after around three days. However, the bacterium’s carriers can get sick at any time.
What Are Psittacosis Symptoms in Mammals?
Psittacosis in animals often causes reproductive issues such as miscarriages and swollen placentas and respiratory issues such as pneumonia, coughing, and a faster respiratory rate. It has also been linked to similar eye problems in humans and lameness, fever, and nasal discharge in birds.
In untreated animals with symptoms, psittacosis can be lethal, yet many are asymptomatic. Because several symptoms can also signal other conditions, it’s challenging to identify psittacosis solely based on symptoms.
How Can You Tell If Your Bird Has Psittacosis?
Because the symptoms of psittacosis can mimic those of various other diseases in pet birds, specific tests are required to determine the presence of C. psittaci. An avian vet may propose histology (looking at tissues under a microscope), nucleic acid and antigen detection, various serological testing, and culturing to identify your bird with psittacosis. Occasionally, more than one test is required.
The bacterium can be found in your bird’s feces, liver, lungs, kidneys, spleen, excretions from the eyes, the choana, cloaca, and even the pericardium, which is the tissue that covers the heart. Psittacosis symptoms are more accessible to detect in birds than psittacosis symptoms in birds that do not show any indicators of the disease. Therefore, it is sometimes necessary to test fecal samples to locate the bacterium, especially in birds that are only carriers and not critically unwell.
What are the most common bird species infected with Psittacosis?
Pet birds belonging to the psittacine family are the most usually afflicted (often referred to as parrots). Macaws, budgerigars (parakeets), cockatiels, Amazon parrots, cockatoos, lories, African greys, lovebirds, and conures are among these birds. Psittacosis is also commonly found in pet pigeons and pet ducks. However, hundreds of other bird species, especially wild birds, are also susceptible to this disease.
Is there a Psittacosis Treatment?
The good news is that psittacosis can be treated. If left untreated, this infection is reported to kill about half of all birds. However, medications are usually effective in treating it. Because birds cannot safely take all of the same antibiotics as other animals, they usually take doxycycline, a tetracycline antibiotic, for 45 days to treat the disease. If your bird does not have C. psittaci, another type of antibiotic from the sulfonamide class may work. Still, this drug class has no impact on the most prevalent type of bacterium that causes psittacosis.
How Can You Keep Your Bird Safe From Psittacosis?
Bacteria cause psittacosis that certain disinfectants may kill. Therefore cleanliness is crucial in preventing the condition. If you’re going to a bird show, wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling the birds. Even objects for sale at the bird show, like food bowls, cages, and toys, might house fomites from ill birds and should be thoroughly cleaned before being given to your bird.
Wild birds can also spread psittacosis. People frequently handle baby birds that fall out of the nest, dead birds, and injured birds, all of which can spread psittacosis. Before handling your pet bird, wash your hands if you have handled any wild birds (particularly seabirds).
If you’re thinking about adopting or buying a new pet bird, quarantine it first before exposing it to another bird. This will give you time to watch them for signs of psittacosis. During the quarantine period, keep your hands clean or wear disposable gloves and a mask, especially if the bird’s source is questionable.
If you have several birds and one of them has been diagnosed with psittacosis, you should isolate that bird from the others to prevent the sickness from spreading. In addition, good ventilation, clean settings, and handwashing are critical in preventing psittacosis transmission at home.
How do I know if my bird has psittacosis?
Poor appetite, ruffled look, eye or nasal discharge, green or yellow-green droppings, and diarrhea are all symptoms in birds (loose droppings). Birds may succumb to the sickness on rare occasions. Some birds may excrete the germs while displaying just minor symptoms or none at all.
Is parrot fever life-threatening?
The majority of persons who are treated for parrot fever recover completely. People who are older, extremely young, or have other health conditions, on the other hand, may take longer to recuperate. However, in humans who have received good treatment, parrot fever seldom causes death.
How common is psittacosis in birds?
This disease can infect any pet bird, although cockatiels, budgies, and parrots are the most usually affected species. Psittacosis may kill more than half of the birds it infects; however, the chance of death ultimately depends on factors like the bird’s species and health.
Do all birds carry psittacosis?
Chlamydophilosis, commonly known as “psittacosis,” “chlamydiosis,” or “Parrot Fever,” is a frequent avian disease. It can affect any bird, but cockatiels, Amazon parrots, and budgerigars are particularly susceptible (often referred to incorrectly as parakeets.)
Is it possible for a parrot bite to become infected?
Bird bite infection is a significant problem. Many of the bacteria we are exposed to in our surroundings, such as E. coli, Samonella, and Staphylococcus, are carried by birds. In addition, Lactobacillus, Pasturella multocida, and Proteus can all be transmitted to humans via bites and scratches.
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