Chlamydia Psittaci Psittacosis

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Psittacosis is a lung infection caused by bacteria called Chlamydia psittaci. These bacteria are found mainly in birds, such as parrots, parakeets, pigeons, chickens, ducks, and lovebirds.

What is going on in the body?

Chlamydia psittaci bacteria can infect a number of mammal species. Birds arethe major reservoir for the organism and are an important source for humandisease. Humans usually get the disease by inhaling the bacteria from driedbird droppings or infected secretions. Symptoms begin 1 to 2 weeks afterinfection.

What are the causes and risks of the infection?

Psittacosis is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia psittaci. Someone who lives or works around birds is at risk for getting the disease.

Symptoms & Signs

What are the signs and symptoms of the infection?

The typical symptoms of psittacosis include:

  • fever and chills
  • muscle aches
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • Diagnosis & Tests

    How is the infection diagnosed?

    The diagnosis of psittacosis is usually made when blood tests show antibodiesto Chlamydia psittaci.

    Prevention & Expectations

    What can be done to prevent the infection?

    Bird breeders and owners can protect themselves by avoiding the dust from the feathers and the cages of sick birds. If infected birds are discovered, they need to be treated. Their cages must be disinfected before further use. A person who has contact with sick birds should be watched for symptoms of psittacosis.

    What are the long-term effects of the infection?

    In rare cases, a person with psittacosis can develop infections of the heart,liver, brain, or spinal cord.

    What are the risks to others?

    It is unusual for humans to pass the psittacosis infection to each other.

    Treatment & Monitoring

    What are the treatments for the infection?

    Psittacosis is treated with antibiotics, including:

  • tetracycline
  • doxycycline
  • erythromycin
  • azithromycin
  • What are the side effects of the treatments?

    Antibiotics may cause allergic reactions or stomach upset.

    What happens after treatment for the infection?

    A person generally recovers completely from psittacosis with antibiotics. If infections develop in the heart, liver, brain, or spinal cord, they may require longer treatment.

    How is the infection monitored?

    Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.

    Article type: xmedgeneral