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Psittacosis - Skin
See also in: International Travel,Pulmonary
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Psittacosis - Skin

See also in: International Travel,Pulmonary
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Contributors: Art Papier MD, William Van Stoecker MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Synopsis

Psittacosis, also known as parrot disease, ornithosis, and chlamydiosis, is a rare zoonotic disease caused by the bacterium Chlamydia psittaci found in the dried secretions and droppings of wild and domestic birds and poultry. Natural infection occurs by inhalation of contaminated dust or aerosols, and as an agent of bioterrorism, this would be the most likely method of dispersal.

Symptoms range from mild, nonspecific, and flu-like to severe pneumonia with respiratory failure. Psittacosis may progress to include hepatic enlargement, splenic enlargement, cervical lymphadenopathy, urticaria, subungual hemorrhage, erythema nodosum, and erythema marginatum. Rarely, severe psittacosis can be fatal (less than 1% with proper antibiotic treatment).

The incubation period of psittacosis is 5-15 days. Transmission occurs through inhalation of aerosolized urine, dried droppings, and secretions from infected birds, which may lodge in feathers or reside in nasal discharges and can stay infective for months. It may also be transmitted via a bird bite, bird handling, or mouth-to-beak contact. Person-to-person transmission is rare, but it has been documented.

C. psittaci is most commonly found in pet birds (eg, parakeets, macaws, parrots, cockatiels), pigeons, ducks, and turkeys, which are often asymptomatic. Infected birds with symptoms present with diarrhea, shivering, sleepiness, anorexia, and breathing difficulties.

There is no vaccine for psittacosis.

Fewer than 50 cases of psittacosis are reported in the United States each year. However, the incidence rate varies due to outbreaks and may be low due to misdiagnosis and underreporting.

Poultry farm workers, abattoir workers, poultry processing plant workers, duck and turkey hunters, veterinarians, zoo keepers, pet shop workers, people exposed to bird nesting areas (eg, bell towers), and people who keep birds as pets are at higher risk for infection.

Masks and gloves should be worn when exposed to infected wild, domestic, and pet birds. Infected birds should be isolated and quarantined, and they may present with diarrhea, conjunctivitis, and anorexia, although they can also appear healthy. Practice proper birdcage hygiene and ventilation; avoid overcrowding birds. Avoid dry removal of dry bird droppings; moisten with disinfectant (1 part bleach in 9 parts water) prior to removal.

Codes

ICD10CM:
A70 – Chlamydia psittaci infections

SNOMEDCT:
75116005 – Psittacosis

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Last Updated: 08/30/2013
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Psittacosis - Skin
See also in: International Travel,Pulmonary
Print 2 Images
View all Images (2)
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Psittacosis : Cervical lymphadenopathy, Chest pain, Cough, Fever, Headache, Hepatomegaly, Dyspnea, Myalgia, Crackles, Bird exposure
Copyright © 2019 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.