Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Bird Handlers Disease Overview

Another name for Bird Handlers Disease is Psittacosis.

What is psittacosis?
A person with psittacosis has inflammation of the lung, caused by a rare bacterial infection that is transmitted to humans from birds. The inflammation can block the flow of oxygen from the lungs into the bloodstream. The most common source of psittacosis in the US are exotic pet birds.

What are the symptoms of psittacosis?
Symptoms of psittacosis may include cough, fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, and a rapid breathing rate.

How does the doctor treat psittacosis?
Treatment for psittacosis includes antibiotics, oxygen therapy, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain and fever.

Continue to Bird Handlers Disease Incidence

Last Updated: Nov 2, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Bird Handlers Disease References
  1. Crosse BA. Psittacosis: a clinical review. J Infect. 1990 Nov;21(3):251-9. [2273272]
  2. Gregory DW, Schaffner W. Psittacosis. Semin Respir Infect. 1997 Mar;12(1):7-11. [9097370]
  3. Schlossberg D, Delgado J, Moore MM, Wishner A, Mohn J. An epidemic of avian and human psittacosis. Arch Intern Med. 1993 Nov 22;153(22):2594-6. [8239852]
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