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Alternative namesChlamydial pneumonia; Ornithosis; Chlamydia psittaci
DefinitionPsittacosis is an infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydia psittaci , which is spread to humans by birds, causing systemic (throughout the body) symptoms and pneumonia .
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Psittacosis is caused by Chlamydia psittaci , a bacterium found in the droppings of birds. It is a rare disease-- fewer than 50 cases have been reported in the U.S. in the past 5 years.
Bird owners, pet shop employees, workers in poultry processing plants, and veterinarians are at increased risk for acquiring this infection.
Signs and testsAbnormal lung sounds such as rales and decreased breath sounds are heard when listening to the chest with a stethoscope.
TreatmentThe infection is treated with antibiotics, including:
Expectations (prognosis)Full recovery is expected.
Calling your health care providerAntibiotics are needed to treat this infection. If you develop symptoms suggestive of psittacosis, call your health care provider.
PreventionAvoid exposure to suspect birds (often imported parakeets and similar birds carry this bacterium). Treat underlying medical problems that cause immune dysfunction and increase susceptibility to this disease.
Update Date: 7/31/2002Christopher Parsons, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT