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Ask Dr Miriam.


Q I went to visit a relative who lives in the country and she has an aviary in her garden with lots of budgies.

I think I've heard that you can catch a lung disease from budgies. Is this true?

A Well, it is but it's not just budgies. Many birds - both domestic and wild - can be hosts to a bacterium that they can pass on to us.

The bug chlamydophila psittaci can cause an illness that's called psittacosis. One of the sources of this disease is pigeons that roam in public places.

Infected birds shed the bacteria when stressed and you catch it by contact with them.

It is usually only bird keepers who get the condition but even then it's rare.

Psittacosis can be quite a serious lung condition. It starts with flu-like symptoms such as a headache, fever, aches and pains. A chest infection then follows but it responds to antibiotics.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 9, 2015
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