Five People died from the Outbreak of New Parrot Fever in Europe

Parrot Fever
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The World Health Organization reported a concerning outbreak of psittacosis, commonly known as parrot fever, affecting individuals across several European nations, as of Tuesday.

This outbreak was initially detected in 2023 and has persisted into the current year, resulting in the tragic deaths of five individuals. Parrot fever, caused by bacteria from the Chlamydia family, is prevalent in various wild and domestic birds, including poultry. Despite infected birds often not displaying symptoms, they can transmit the bacteria through breathing or excrement.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that humans primarily contract parrot fever by inhaling dust containing the bacteria from infected bird secretions. Additionally, transmission can occur through bird bites or contact between a bird’s beak and an individual’s mouth. It’s important to note that the disease is not transmitted through the consumption of infected animals.

According to studies, while human-to-human transmission of parrot fever is possible, it is rare, as highlighted by the World Health Organization (WHO). Most recent cases have involved individuals who had contact with infected domestic or wild birds. Typically, individuals infected with parrot fever experience a mild illness starting five to 14 days after exposure to an infected bird. Symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, dry cough, fever, and chills. Fortunately, antibiotics are effective in treating the infection, and fatalities are rare among humans.

Austria, which usually records around two cases of parrot fever annually, reported 14 confirmed cases in 2023 and an additional four cases this year as of March 4. These cases are unrelated, and none of the affected individuals reported travel abroad or contact with wild birds.

Denmark typically records between 15 to 30 human cases annually, with most cases attributed to exposure to pet birds or hobby birds such as racing pigeons. As of February 27, Denmark has confirmed 23 cases in connection with this outbreak. However, health officials suspect that the actual number of cases might be higher, as noted by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Among the Danish cases, 17 individuals required hospitalization, with 15 diagnosed with pneumonia, and four fatalities reported. Notably, at least one person in Denmark contracted parrot fever from a pet bird. Of the 15 other cases with available exposure data, 12 individuals reported contact with wild birds, mainly through bird feeders. In three cases, there was no history of contact with any type of birds.

In Germany, there were 14 confirmed cases of parrot fever in 2023, with an additional five cases reported this year. Nearly all affected individuals developed pneumonia, with 16 requiring hospitalization. From the 19 cases reported in Germany, Five have been exposed to affected chicken or pet parrots.

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