Respiratory diseases


A person can become infected with pathogens of psittacosis from any type of birds. Ornithosis (psittacosis) – severe infectious disease, which is caused by bacteria that resistant to disinfectants. Infection occurs through contact with parrots. The causative agent of the disease – chlamydia psittaci (from Lat. «psitta» – parrot). There are four species of сhlamydia, three of which cause inflammation of the lung in humans. Transmission of the causative agent of psittacosis from person to person is registered extremely rare. But if this does happen, then the patient should be isolated. The incubation period lasts an average of 10-12 days. Psittacosis is similar to acute respiratory viral infection, typhoid fever, and pneumonia, and therefore identification is extremely hindered, so the diagnosis is often delayed. In severe cases, the disease in elderly or debilitated people can be fatal. Children and young people usually survive. Infection affects the entire body, so the fully recovery – only within a few weeks.


  • Fever.
  • Fatigue and exhaustion.
  • Cough, thirst.
  • Epistaxis.
  • Headaches and muscle pain.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Diarrhea.

Symptoms of psittacosis in birds

Sick birds are sleepy, reluctant peck feed, look weakened, exhausted, they have diarrhea and paralysis. It’s necessary to report to the competent authorities about all cases of the disease.


The disease is caused by chlamydia – bacteria, which parasites in birds. Once in the body, they multiply and infect tissues. Birds shed chlamydia in the faeces. The main route of infection – airborne. Mites that live in the feathers of birds, also contribute to the spread of the pathogen. Infection can occur as from sick birds, and from virus carriers. The chance of infection is increased in those bird owners who “kiss” with their pets, does not follow the rules of personal hygiene. Other carriers of infection – urban pigeons, those are accumulating in one place and contribute to its spread.


For the treatment of psittacosis antibiotics are used. To avoid the complications, patients must comply with bed rest. Painkillers, sedatives and antitussive drugs are prescribed to them.

People should strictly observe personal hygiene and caution when making contact with the birds, that are were kept in cages. If you have noticed any signs of the disease, birds should be isolated, and immediately contact veterinarian about it.

The symptoms of psittacosis: fever, bronchitis, cough, sputum mixed with blood, chest pain, headache, fatigue and exhaustion. Usually, the presence of these symptoms flu is suspected, but bird owners should consult a doctor.

By bringing history and listening to the lungs, the doctor will make a special laboratory analysis of blood, as this bacterium is quite dangerous. Doctor will refer the patient to the Department of Infectious Diseases, where the patient will have to comply with bed rest, take certain medications.

Course of the disease

Symptoms appear on 7-15 days after contact with infected birds. The disease develops gradually, at first, variations in temperature, headache and muscle pain, heart palpitations, cough, sometimes nosebleeds, diarrhea, excessive thirst are observed in the patient. After these symptoms resembling acute viral respiratory infection or flu, the most often – pneumonia develops, sometimes – jaundice or delirium. The fever lasts about three weeks, then it disappear along with other symptoms gradually. Chlamydia often spread through the bloodstream throughout the body. They are particularly quickly multiply in the liver and spleen, so this disease is characterized by an increase in these organs, and sometimes by heart disease.

Psittacosis – a serious infectious disease, so only the doctor has to treat it. The disease recurs in 10-20% of patients. It is particularly dangerous for the elderly and the severely malnourished people, because it can be fatal.