What is psittacosis?They link ‘parrot flu’ to five deaths in Europe, WHO issues outbreak alert International | News

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued an alert to European countries about an outbreak of psittacosis, or parrot flu.

La Vanguardia noted that psittacosis is a respiratory infection caused by the bacterium ‘Chlamydia psittaci’ and mainly affects birds. “Many cases of psittacosis occur when humans contract the infection in poultry and pets.”

In Europe, according to a report published by El Debate media on March 6, 2024, psittacosis “has killed five people so far: four in Denmark and one in the Netherlands.”

“Although an alert has been issued to all European countries, including Spain, epidemiological investigations have been carried out in the affected areas to identify possible exposures and clusters of cases,” El Debate noted.

He emphasized that “it is uncommon for infected people to die.” Infobae reported that at present, the World Health Organization “continues to monitor the situation and, based on available information, assesses the risk posed by this incident to be low.”

Infobae said the measures taken include the analysis of samples from wild birds sent for avian influenza testing to verify the prevalence of Chlamydophila psittaci in wild birds.

Austria, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands reported an increase in psittacosis cases through the EU Early Warning and Response System (EWS) at the end of February, with observations in late 2023 and 2024, they said in El Debate, citing the World Health Organization. The beginning of the year.

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How parrot flu or psittacosis is spread

Human infection occurs primarily through contact with the secretions of infected birds and is primarily associated with pet bird workers, poultry workers, veterinarians, pet bird owners, and gardeners in areas where Psittacosis is endemic. ” reported by WHO and reported by Infobae.

However, in El Debate they add that the spread of psittacosis, also known as ornithosis: in humans it is mainly caused by airborne particles inhaled by respiratory secretions, dried feces or feather dust. Direct contact with birds is not necessary for infection to occur.

The way this bacteria is spread is through the animal’s feces. When the feces dries, it remains in the suspended air like talcum powder. When you approach the cage or hold the cage in your hands, the dust will remain on the feathers and we will crave it. it.

Diego Laporta, veterinarian

What are the symptoms of psittacosis?

According to the World Health Organization, psittacosis is “a mild illness” with symptoms including fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and a dry cough.

Symptoms in birds include loss of appetite, furry appearance, discharge from the eyes or nose, and diarrhea. In some cases, birds may succumb to the disease. The New York Department of Health explains on its website that certain birds can eliminate the microbe even if they don’t show symptoms.

How long after infection do symptoms appear?

The incubation period can last from four to 15 days, but is usually 10 days, according to New York.

People with psittacosis must receive antibiotic treatment for at least 14 days, and Infobae summarizes “general advice”: Do not obtain animals from illegal sources, consult a veterinarian if wild birds are present in the home, and prevent animals from being left in the home. In a closed environment, it should be placed in a clean, well-ventilated cage.

They recalled in this medium that a year ago in Argentina, a family in the municipality of Rafaela, in the province of Santa Fe, contracted the disease after bringing home a wild bird as a pet. They reported that four people were hospitalized with pneumonia, one of whom died, another who remains on a ventilator in intensive care, and two other patients who were quickly discharged.

To learn more about Psittacosis, click here


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