Ornithosis A70

Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

Our authors

Last updated on: 29.10.2020

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Synonym(s)

Avian chlamydiosis; Ornithosis; Parrot Disease; Psittacosis

Definition
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Notifiable (report by name in case of laboratory evidence), chlamydiae disease transmissible from birds aerogenously to humans (through faeces and feather dust). No transmission from person to person.

Pathogen
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Chlamydia psittaci.

Occurrence/Epidemiology
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Nationwide about 80-100 diseases/year.

Etiopathogenesis
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Infection of humans through contact with infested birds (secretions, feathers, faeces), especially from animal farms (ducks, turkeys) or pigeons More rarely, tropical birds or migratory birds appear as reservoirs.

Clinical features
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Incubation period: 7-28 days.

Flu-like or pneumonic course. More severe forms are associated with fever, chills, severe general symptoms with headache and muscle pain, sensitivity to light and atypical interstitial pneumonia (cough and moderate, often haemorrhagic sputum).

Skin lesions: paleness, icteric skin, exanthema with small reddish-brownish spots disappearing under the pressure of a glass spatula. Rarely papular, multiforme or nodular erythema.

Splenomegaly

Diagnosis
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Chlamydia-psittaci antibody detection with monoclonal antibodies (e.g. ELISA) in blood and sputum. Alternatively: microimmunofluorescence test (MIF). Pathogen isolation (cultural) on incubated egg or in cell culture. PCR detection of the MOMP1 gene from sputum or blood.

Therapy
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Doxycycline (e.g. supracycline) 2 times/day 100 mg p.o. for 14-21 days.

Alternatively macrolides like erythromycin (e.g. erythrocin) 4 times/day 500 mg p.o.

Progression/forecast
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Fatalities with antibiotic therapy: 0.5-5%.

Prophylaxis
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Quarantine of imported birds and immigrant people.

Literature
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  1. Balsamo G et al (2017) Compendium of Measures to Control Chlamydia psittaci Infection Among Humans (Psittacosis) and Pet Birds (Avian Chlamydiosis). J Avian Med Surg 31:262-282.
  2. Mandøe MJ et al (2014) Ornithosis is a diagnostic challenge. Ugeskr Laeger 176:V11130653.

Disclaimer

Please ask your physician for a reliable diagnosis. This website is only meant as a reference.

Authors

Last updated on: 29.10.2020