Psittacosis: The WHO warns of this disease which has already killed five people in Europe

Psittacosis: The WHO warns of this disease which has already killed five people in Europe

The World Health Organization is warning this Tuesday, March 5, of a new disease which has already killed 5 people in Europe: psittacosis. Also called parrot fever, this pathology is closely monitored by specialists.

In a note published by the World Health Organization (WHO), we find an alert on cases of psittacosis in Europe. This pathology, which is also called parrot fever, is caused by bacteria.

What is psittacosis?

Psittacosis is a lung infection transmitted by bacteria Chlamydophila psittaci, which often contaminates birds. It can therefore be transmitted to humans through pet birds, such as parrots, parakeets, finches, canaries or pigeons.

In total, 450 species of birds are concerned, but not only that. In fact, the bacteria has already been found in other animals, such as dogs, cats or horses.

A disease that has already killed five people

The disease has not been detected in Europe. In other European countries, however, the number of cases is increasing. This is the case, for example, in the Netherlands, Sweden, Austria and Central Europe. Psittacosis is fortunately not always fatal, but five deaths linked to the disease have been reported by the WHO in recent months.

The organization nevertheless wants to be reassuring, explaining that there is no epidemic risk. “Although birds carrying this disease could cross international borders, there is currently no evidence that this disease is spread by humans nationally or internationally.“. For the WHO, a “transmission interhumaine” is also unlikely.

Professionals in contact with the most affected birds

Professionals working in contact with birds are most at risk of contracting this infection. Veterinarians, poultry breeders, pet store staff and of course people with a pet bird are in fact more exposed (as was the case with this South African woman we told you about). Infected birds may be in good health or present various suspicious signs (lethargic state, diarrhea, etc.).

Dead birds can also carry the bacteria. It is important not to hug or kiss animals and wash your hands thoroughly after handling them. Symptoms of this infection could appear within a few days of exposure and up to 14 days afterward. These are usually fever, headache, chills, muscle pain and dry cough. Antibiotic treatment will be necessary to eradicate the bacteria.