ZOONOSES (diseases that can be passed from animals to humans)

DISEASE

SYMPTOMS IN BIRDS

SYMPTOMS IN HUMANS

Viruses

(including "Bird Flu")

Range from mild respiratory (breathing) problems to fatal pneumonia

Headaches, sinusitis, sore eyes (conjunctivitis)

Chlamydia

(Chlamydophilosis or Psittacosis)

Non-specific signs of being sick such as "fluffed up" and lethargic, weight loss, watery green droppings and/or eye and nostril discharges

Fevers, coughing, weakness, lung lesions, atypical pneumonia and meningitis

Bacteria

Range from severe diarrhoea, wasting, arthritis, breathing difficulties to death

Range from diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain to severe fevers, tuberculosis (rare), swelling of lymph nodes and/or arthritis

Fungi

Respiratory (breathing) problems, vomiting, diarrhoea

Ringworm (extremely rare), pneumonia, meningitis

Giardia

Diarrhoea, weight loss, anorexia, poor growth and death in young birds, dry skin and feather picking

Weight loss, diarrhoea, severe abdominal cramps

Mites and Lice

Feather picking, self-multilation (uncommon)

Short-term skin irritation, allergy to bites

 

        Birds can also carry many of these infections without showing any signs. If you keep birds and you are ill you should always inform your medical doctor that you have a bird in case this is relevant to your problem.

 

        If your bird has one of these diseases, will you become ill?

There are several groups of people more at risk:

- People who work with birds a lot;

-         Immunocompromised people such as HIV positive individuals, people on chemotherapy and older people who have poor health; and

-         People who have a bird that is releasing a lot of the infection.

 

        How can transmision of these diseases be prevented?

Simple precautions such as washing hands after handling birds, and before eating and drinking help to minimise the risk. Most of these diseases can be detected by simple tests performed by an avian veterinarian at "new bird" and annual health checks.

 

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