Chlamydia Psittaci In Birds (Symptoms & Treatments)

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Chlamydia psittaci may infect birds of any size or age. Weight loss owing to liver illness, anorexia, hypothermia, lethargy, and yellowish-green gelatinous droppings are early clinical indications. Severe depression may ultimately lead to mortality in up to 40% of all cases. Chlamydia psittaci, on the other hand, may be efficiently treated with medicines if found early.

The majority of Chlamydia psittaci strains excreted by birds, as well as certain strains produced by animals, may cause illness in humans. Close personal contact with an infected bird, or inhalation of aerosols or dust carrying Chlamydia Psittaci, may cause infection in humans. For additional information about Chlamydia Psittaci, see your doctor.

Two kinds of samples may be presented when trying to identify Polyomavirus in live birds. The best approach for collecting samples of birds while they are shedding the virus is a cloacal swab or blood sample. To reduce the potential of environmental contamination, collect (250-500 ul) of blood through venipuncture using a sterile syringe before submitting a blood sample for testing. Swabs of air ducts, cages, floors, and countertops are used to screen aviaries and their surroundings.

Quality samples are produced from cloacal or a mix of cloacal and coanal swabs in birds that are shedding Chlamydia or Polyoma. Swabs must be supplied in Modified Stuarts liquid transport medium.


Chlamydia psittaci is also known as Psittacosis, Parrot Fever, and Chlamydiosis. Psittacosis is derived from the Greek term Psittakos, which means “parrot.” Chlamydia is gram-negative, spherical intracellular parasite (0.4-0.6 micron diameter) that is frequently referred to as an “energy parasite” because they consume ATP (a critical energy-containing molecule) generated by the host cell, thus the phrase “energy parasite.”

Incubation periods in caged birds range from days to weeks and longer, with the most common period being 3 to 10 days. Latent infections are common, and active disease can occur several years after exposure; however, the incubation period of this disease is difficult to assess due to chronically infected birds that develop persistent, asymptomatic infections.

In birds, C. psittaci may cause upper respiratory infections with nasal and/or ocular discharge, diarrhea, or a combination of the three. In other situations, birds may be infected but exhibit no symptoms, which is concerning since these birds may become carriers and shed the organism.

The organism’s zoonotic potential (an illness that may be passed from animals to people) is a serious issue. C. psittaci is also one of the leading causes 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, fecal 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 to 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, tremors, lethargy, conjunctivitis, dyspnea, emaciation, sinusitis, and yellow to greenish droppings or grey watery droppings. Tremors, lethargy, ruffled feathers, increasing weight loss, greenish diarrhea, 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 hematology 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 fecal 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. The citric acid in the bird’s drinking water may raise antibiotic levels in the blood.

*Tetracycline and its variants 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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