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Ornithosis -Definition, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Ornithosis - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


Ornithosis is define as an infectious disease that affects many bird species worldwide such as parrots , macaws , cockatiels , parakeets ,pigeons , sparrows , ducks , hens , sea gulls etc & generally spread to humans from birds, specially psittacine, or parrot-like, birds. It can also be moved to other mammals. Ornithosis is also known as parrot fever , parrot disease & psittacosis . It is recognized as a zoonotic infectious disease produced by the bacterium Chlamydia psittaci.

This disease appears in the hole world specially to those people who are associated with occupational exposure to birds such as poultry farming, which is spread to humans by birds. This infectious disease ornithosis is characterized by pneumonitis and systemic symptoms (throughout the body).It is sometimes applied to infections from birds other than birds includes the parrots, macaws, and parakeets.


Ornithosis is an contagious disease originated by chlamydia and can be spread from birds,animals to man. The bacterium Chlamydia psittaci are discharged in the lachrymal fluid, droppings, beak and throat mucus and the crop milk. Sometimes transmission appears through direct or close interaction with contaminated secretions or body tissues, as in laboratory personnel who work with birds. Person-to-person transmission seldom occurs but generally results critical ornithosis.

The infected birds by ornithosis become the carriers & discharge the pathogen. The birds contract the disease by breathing in dust having the pathogen, by ingesting contaminated feed or water & by billing or feeding their young.
The infection may moved to the upper respiratory tract. Nasal catarrh appears, a milky yellow liquid may extract from the nostrils and then dry & obstruct them. The inflammation produces itching & pain , which the pigeon will try to scratch.


The incubation period in humans is 5-14 days & symptoms occurs from illness to systemic illness with severe pneumonia .The symptoms in the humans include are rash, mild fever, headache and commonly pneumonia. But in birds, the symptoms occur such as low appetite, ruffled appearance, eye or nose discharge, and diarrhea.

Ornithosis occurs in 2 ways:

  • The acute ornithosis can be occur in young pigeons from wheezing noises, uni- or bilateral conjunctivitis & muco-aqueous enteritis with diarrhoea .

  • The chronic ornithosis is more often developed in adult birds, which, however, show few or no symptoms of the infection.

There are some of the ornithosis symptoms given below are:

  • Pain in muscle

  • Fever

  • Chills

  • Headache

  • Fatigue

  • Cough (dry)

  • Breathing disorder

  • Blood tinged sputum

In some complex situations encephalitis, endocarditis , hepatitis , myocarditis , arthritis & keratoconjunctivitis may sometime occur.


Tetracycline, an antibiotics are often recommended to treat ornithosis in both humans and birds.

If the patient can't able to tolerate tetracycline, penicillin G procaine or chloramphenicol is recommended as an alternative.

Chlortetracyclin is also used for many years to ebb the as it is the one of the good drugs to treat the ornithosis.

There are lot of drugs available in the market to mitigate the ornithosis ,the drugs which are commonly use to treat ornithosis with antibiotics such as doxycycline ,erythromycin & azithromycin

About the Author: Steve Mathew is a writer, who writes many great articles on conditions, diseases and various other ailments. For more information on ornithosis, visit

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