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Psittacosis

PSITTACOSIS

Psittacosis is a zoonosis, caused by bacteria of the Chlamydia family. It occurs naturally in many species of birds, such as domesticated parrots, and these occasionally infect humans, typically when parrots are kept in inadequately cleaned cages in a confined space frequented by their human owner. Psittacosis is also an occupational hazard of workers in aviaries, and outbreaks have been reported among workers in poultry farms and processing plants. However, in the twenty-first century even isolated cases are uncommon, either because of improved standards of cleanliness in places where birds are kept and poultry is processed, or owing to other ecological factors. It is more likely to occur after exposure to birds imported from Latin America or Asia than those reared in the United States.

The usual mode of infection is via infected droppings or detritus on the infected bird's feathers. Psittacosis causes a feverish illness resembling pneumonia, occasionally with other manifestations, including skin rashes and inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord. It is an indolent infection that responds sluggishly to antibiotics of the tetracycline family, and can be fatal, although this is rare. Prevention depends on education of persons who are in close and continuing contact with birds, maintaining scrupulous cleanliness of bird cages, and surveillance of known or potential foci of infection such as poultry farms and shops that sell pet birds. Quarantine is applied to poultry farms and premises where infected birds have been found, and can be enforced when suspected infected birds are imported from other parts of the world.

John M. Last

(see also: Zoonoses )

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psittacosis

psittacosis (sĬtəkō´sĬs) or parrot fever, infectious disease caused by the species of Chlamydia psittaci and transmitted to people by birds, particularly parrots, parakeets, and lovebirds. In birds the disease takes the form of an intestinal infection, but in people the illness runs the course of a virus pneumonia; infection follows inhalation of dust from feathers or cage contents or the bite of an infected bird. Human psittacosis, which can be transmitted to others by cough droplets and sputum, is treated the same as pneumonia. The mortality rate may run as high as 30%. Restrictions on bird importation and attention to infected flocks of pigeons have been used to control the disease. Treatment with tetracycline antibiotic is usually effective.

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psittacosis

psittacosis (parrot disease, ornithosis) (sit-ă-koh-sis) n. an endemic infection of birds, especially parrots, budgerigars, canaries, finches, pigeons, and poultry, caused by the bacterium Chlamydia psittaci. The infection is transmitted to humans by inhalation from handling the birds or by contact with feathers, faeces, or cage dust, but person-to-person transmission also occurs. The symptoms include fever, dry cough, severe muscle pain, and headache; occasionally a severe generalized systemic illness results. The condition responds to tetracycline or erythromycin.

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psittacosis

psittacosis (parrot fever) Disorder usually affecting the respiratory system of birds. Caused by a bacterium, it can be transmitted to human beings, producing pneumonia-like symptoms. Treatment is with antibiotics.

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psittacosis

psittacosis contagious disease of birds, esp. parrots. XIX. f. L. psittacus — Gr. psittakós parrot; see -OSIS.

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psittacosis

psittacosisglacis, Onassis •abscess •anaphylaxis, axis, praxis, taxis •Chalcis • Jancis • synapsis • catharsis •Frances, Francis •thesis • Alexis • amanuensis •prolepsis, sepsis, syllepsis •basis, oasis, stasis •amniocentesis, anamnesis, ascesis, catechesis, exegesis, mimesis, prosthesis, psychokinesis, telekinesis •ellipsis, paralipsis •Lachesis •analysis, catalysis, dialysis, paralysis, psychoanalysis •electrolysis • nemesis •genesis, parthenogenesis, pathogenesis •diaeresis (US dieresis) • metathesis •parenthesis •photosynthesis, synthesis •hypothesis, prothesis •crisis, Isis •proboscis • synopsis •apotheosis, chlorosis, cirrhosis, diagnosis, halitosis, hypnosis, kenosis, meiosis, metempsychosis, misdiagnosis, mononucleosis, myxomatosis, necrosis, neurosis, osmosis, osteoporosis, prognosis, psittacosis, psychosis, sclerosis, symbiosis, thrombosis, toxoplasmosis, trichinosis, tuberculosis •archdiocese, diocese, elephantiasis, psoriasis •anabasis • apodosis •emphasis, underemphasis •anamorphosis, metamorphosis •periphrasis • entasis • protasis •hypostasis, iconostasis

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