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Medical Definition of Psittacosis (parrot fever)

Psittacosis (parrot fever): An infectious disease due to a bacteria (Chlamydia psittaci) contracted from psittacine birds, especially caged birds like parrots, parakeets, and lovebirds and also in turkey processing plants.

The bacteria enter the human body by inhalation of air that contains it or by a bite from an infected bird. The incubation period is 1 to 3 weeks after exposure to the onset of symptoms.

The signs and symptoms of the disease include fever and chills. ill feeling (malaise), loss of appetite, cough and shortness of breath.

The diagnosis is made by recovering the bacteria in the laboratory from the patient's blood or sputum.

Treatment includes an antibiotic such as tetracycline. With early diagnosis and proper treatment, the disease is usually over in a week or two.

To avoid the disease, avoid dust from bird feathers and cage contents and do not handle a sick bird.

The name psittacosis comes from the Greek "psittakos" meaning parrot.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
Last Editorial Review: 6/9/2016

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