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61-Year-Old Man Contracts Rare Fatal Pneumonia from His Pet Parrots

Sep 15, 2016 04:17 AM EDT
Parrot's fever is caused by a bacteria called Chylmadia psattaci. Even though named as such, it does not necessarily mean that this sickness is exclusive to parrots, as it can also affect even some birds and even humans.
(Photo : Unsplash/Public Domain/Pixabay)

A 61-year-old contracted a rare illness that is related with parrots. The unidentified man had been sick for a week before he went to the hospital. By the time he arrived at the hospital, he was already suffering respiratory failure, and with serious flu-like symptoms, coupled with fever, discomfort and breathlessness.

In a BMJ journal published last Sept. 12, the then mysterious illnessmade the man experienced forgetfulness, and while in the hospital, he even had seizure. In effort to discover what is exactly the man's illness, the doctors ran tests.

During the man's second day in the intensive care, the doctors found a possible cause of his illness: the man is an avid bird keeper. It was soon learned that aside from having a lot of birds, two of his pet birds had recently died. This vital information led the doctors to suspect that the man's illness might be pssittacosis or what we called "parrot of fever."

Doctors soon discovered that Chylmadia psattaci DNA is found in the man's sputum. This is a type of pneumonia that is caused by a bacteria called Chylmadia psattaci and is deadly to the birds.

Despite its name, psittacosis is not necessarily exclusive to parrots as it can affects birds such as turkeys, macaws, parakeets and ducks, according to Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, posted in Live Science.

Affected birds will experience weight loss, watery green droppings, pink eyes, difficult breathing, discharges from eyes or mares and even sudden death. Despite these, some birds don't get sick even after contracting parrot's fever as the disease is asymptomatic.

Humans contracting the disease experience flu-like symptoms, fever, rash and a slower heartbeat. It can also cause neurological symptoms, which also include severe headaches and "photophobia," an extreme sensitivity to light. Humans can get sick with this illness once they inhaled particles of the infected bird's droppings, snot and feather dust. However, seizures and forgetfulness are rare for patients with the sickness.

The man was given an antibiotic called doxycycline and eventually left ICU. Several weeks after he was discharged from the hospital he, suffered of knee pain, which can also be another reaction from parrot's fever though only about two-thirds of patients. Once untreated, parrot's fever can be fatal.

The video below will give us insights about certain illnesses we can also get from birds.

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