‘No parrot fever threat’

2007-11-26 00:00

THERE’S no need for city residents to panic about catching parrot fever as the chance of transmission of the bacteria to humans is very low.

This was revealed by pathologist Dr Rick Last following a case discovered in the city last week.

More than 20 people, including the parrot’s owners, were treated with antibiotics as a precautionary measure after they came into contact with a parrot that died of the disease.

The disease, avian chlamydiosis — also known as ornithosis or parrot fever — can be transmitted to humans and can be fatal.

But Last assured the public that the infection is very common and the transmission rate very low as the disease is caused by a bacterium and not a virus.

“There is a chance that other birds are carriers of the bacteria because it is fairly common. The pets move around from a pet shop to a buyer in a different environment and sometimes become stressed and they shed the organism,” he said.

He said that when this happens, pet owners need to inform a doctor as soon as possible so that the treatment can begin immediately and therefore be more effective.

Last said that the incident was not a first for the city and that parrot fever has been around for many centuries.

mthobisi@witness.co.za

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