Skip to content

Parrot Fever

by Daniel on March 2nd, 2011

What is parrot fever?

Parrot fever, or chlamydiosis, is caused by an intracellular organism named Chlamydia psittaci. This organism has been found in more than 130 species of birds, half of them psittacines. (Psittacine birds, which include parrots and parakeets, usually have two toes facing forward and two toes facing backward.) Birds from wild populations or unknown origins are more likely to be carriers of Chlamydia psittaci.

Chlamydia psittaci can affect many types of tissues and species of animals. Symptoms in birds are highly variable, so diagnosis from clinical signs is difficult. In fact, definitive diagnosis of this disease by any method can be difficult. Cultures for this organism from bird feces or other tissues require live organisms and proper handling of samples. A positive culture test is fairly diagnostic, but false negatives can easily occur. Comparative blood tests in larger birds may be helpful for diagnosis, but results can be misleading in different species of birds. Cytology is useful in birds with eye infections or on autopsy samples of the liver, spleen, and air sacs.

It is common to provide preventive treatment with certain types of antibiotics such as tetracycline or doxycycline in sick or suspected carrier birds for 21 to 45 days. Quarantine of new birds and screening for carrier birds can also be helpful in reducing the incidence of this disease.

Parrot fever is considered a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be transmitted from birds to humans. In humans, chlamydiosis (also known as ornithosis) includes flu-like symptoms with fever, chills, headaches, and breathing difficulty. This disease in humans is usually not serious — but it can be in immunocompromised people.

From → Health

Comments are closed.