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A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): A.D.A.M.; 2013.

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.

Psittacosis

Ornithosis; Chlamydia psittaci

Last reviewed: August 30, 2012.

Psittacosis is an infection caused by Chlamydophila psittaci, a type of bacteria found in the droppings of birds. Birds spread the infection to humans.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Psittacosis is a rare disease: 100 - 200 cases are reported each year in the United States.

Bird owners, pet shop employees, persons who work in poultry processing plants, and veterinarians are at increased risk for this infection. Typical birds involved are parrots, parakeets, and budgerigars, although other birds have also caused the disease.

Symptoms

Signs and tests

The health care provider will hear abnormal lung sounds such as crackles and decreased breath sounds when listening to the chest with a stethoscope.

Tests include:

Treatment

The infection is treated with antibiotics. Doxycycline is used first. Other antibiotics that may be prescribed include:

Note: Tetracycline and doxycycline by mouth is usually not prescribed for children until after all their permanent teeth have started to grow in or to pregnant women. The medicine can permanently discolor teeth that are still forming.

Expectations (prognosis)

Full recovery is expected.

Complications

Calling your health care provider

Antibiotics are needed to treat this infection. If you develop symptoms of psittacosis, call your health care provider.

Prevention

Avoid exposure to birds that may carry this bacteria, such as imported parakeets. Medical problems that lead to a weak immune system increase your risk for this disease and should be treated appropriately.

References

  1. Torres A. Pyogenic bacterial pneumonia and lung abscess. In: Mason RJ, Broaddus CV, Martin TR, et al. Murray & Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 32.
  2. Limper AH. Overview of pneumonia. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 97.

Review Date: 8/30/2012.

Reviewed by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

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The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsementscof those other sites. © 1997–2011 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Copyright © 2013, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsementscof those other sites. © 1997–2011 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Copyright © 2013, A.D.A.M., Inc.

Figures

  • Lungs.
    Respiratory system.

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