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‘Parrot fever' outbreak in Europe has led to deaths of five people

·1 min

A recent outbreak of psittacosis, also known as parrot fever, has been reported in several European countries. The outbreak began in 2023 and has continued into this year. Five deaths have been recorded so far. Parrot fever is caused by bacteria found in wild and pet birds and poultry. Infected birds can spread the bacteria through their breath or feces. Humans can contract the disease by inhaling the dust from an infected bird’s secretions or through direct contact. Most cases have been linked to exposure to infected birds, with human-to-human transmission being rare. Symptoms generally appear within two weeks of exposure and can include headache, muscle pain, dry cough, fever, and chills. Antibiotics can effectively treat the infection, and it is rarely fatal for humans. Several European countries, such as Austria, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands, have seen an increase in cases. Domestic and wild bird contact, as well as poor hand hygiene, have been identified as risk factors. Health authorities are monitoring the situation and advising doctors to be vigilant for cases of parrot fever. Owners of pet birds and bird handlers are encouraged to maintain good hand hygiene and cleanliness to prevent the spread of the bacteria.