Psittacosis is a chest infection that can often develop into pneumonia but is usually acquired by human beings from birds, particularly budgerigars, parrots and pigeons. Other pets and farmyard fowl may also spread this condition, which is also known as parrot fever. It is caused by a parasite similar to Chlamydia that can cause venereal disease.
The infection is found in the droppings of the birds, and cleaning of bird cages and hen-houses is common sources of infection. The condition is not confined to middle-aged people, but the elderly, who frequently keep pets, are more prone because of their diminishing immune capabilities. Young children and professionals in contact with birds may have more exposure but a better defence.
Wear a mask when cleaning bird-soiled areas.
See Chest infection and Pneumonia.