Avian Chlamydia


Chlamydia psittaci is also known as Psittacosis, Parrot Fever, and Chlamydiosis. Psittacosis is derived from the Greek term Psittakos, which means parrot. Chlamydia are gramme negative, spherical, (0.4-0.6 micron diameter), intracellular parasites Avain Chlamydia that people often referred to as “energy parasites” because they consume ATP (a vital energy carrying metabolite) generated by the host cell, therefore, the phrase “energy parasites.

Incubation times in confined birds range from days to weeks and even months. This phase is usually between 3 and 10 days. Latent infections are prevalent, and active illness may develop years after first contact. However, since chronically infected birds have persistent, asymptomatic illnesses, determining the incubation time of this disease is challenging.

C. psittaci in birds may cause an upper respiratory infection with nasal and/or ocular discharge, diarrhoea, or a combination of the three. Birds may be affected yet exhibit no symptoms in certain circumstances. These situations are concerning because the birds may become carriers of the organism and shed it.
The zoonotic potential of C. psittaci is a serious source of concern. A zoonotic illness is an infection that spreads from animals to humans. In addition, C. psittaci is a primary cause of infectious abortion in sheep and cattle.
Chlamydia trachomatis, the most prevalent human STD, and Chlamydia pneumonia, a cause of human pneumonia, are both linked to C. psittaci.


This organism is typically transmitted from one host to another through the air. Infected birds shed the germs via nasal and/or ocular secretions, faecal debris, and feather dust. Outside of the host body, the organism is extraordinarily resilient and dries as a powdery material. This dust or aerosol pollutes the air, which is subsequently breathed by another potential host. The new host’s susceptibility and the quantity of contamination decide whether or not it gets infected with the illness. Domesticated ducks have shown vertical transmission via the egg.
Overcrowding, stale air situations, nest-boxes, and brooders all increase the disease’s chances of spreading. Pet stores, bird markets, and quarantine facilities are also high-risk locations.

*A handful of instances have proven the transmission of the Chlamydial organism from birds to people. Although psittacosis infection in humans is uncommon, it may be harmful for the ill, aged, immunocompromised (e.g., HIV patients), or pregnant. For additional information about Chlamydia psittaci, these patients should speak with their doctor.


Clinical signs in young birds might include rough plumage, low body temperature, tremor, lethargy, conjunctivitis, dyspnea, emaciation, sinusitis, and yellow to greenish droppings or grey watery droppings.

Tremors, lethargy, ruffled feathers, increasing weight loss, greenish diarrhoea, intermittent conjunctivitis, and high amounts of urates in droppings may all occur in adult birds. As the illness advances, birds infected with Chlamydia may exhibit one or more of these symptoms.
WBC raised 2-3 times, Hct dropped 25-40%, SGOT elevated at least 2-3 times normal levels, LDH elevated by at least 20%, and AST elevated by at least 2-3 times normal limit are all clinical alterations linked with Chlamydia infection. Other, more subtle alterations in blood haematology and chemistry may occur.

*A Chlamydia infection may cause a rapid onset of fever, chills, headache, lack of appetite, shortness of breath, malaise, myalgia, and conjunctivitis in humans.


The greatest technique of prevention is to keep the organism from entering your facility. All new birds should be tested and quarantined before being introduced into your aviary; avoid bird marts and bird fairs where the sickness might spread. Common sense hygiene involves faecal waste disposal and adequate air circulation.


Tetracycline and its derivatives, such as Vibramycin, Doxycycline, and Oxytetracycline, are used in the majority of therapies. The antibiotic may be administered intravenously or intramuscularly. Antibiotics may also be administered orally or combined with food. Treatment durations typically last 45 days, however this varies significantly depending on the treatment. Tetracycline binds to calcium, hence calcium should be avoided. Citric acid in the bird’s drinking water may raise antibiotic levels in the blood. Tetracycline and its derivatives are typically successful Chlamydia treatments in humans.


Fecal analysis, blood analysis, immunofluorescent testing, and PCR and nested PCR testing are all useful in determining a Chlamydial infection.


When evaluating individual birds, a full blood sample should be collected together with a cloacal and/or throat swab if feasible. If the sample is positive, the bird should be quarantined and treatment should begin right once.
Postmortem swabs or sterile samples of liver, spleen, or kidney tissue may also be provided.

Environmental testing, such as swabbing aviaries, worktops, fans, air filters, nest boxes, and so on, is particularly successful in detecting the presence of Chlamydia psittaci DNA in the environment.


Prior to delivery, samples should be kept at 4 degrees Celsius (refrigerator). Samples should be sent in a padded envelope or box. Regular mail is OK for sending samples, however overnight delivery is preferred.

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