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Infected Birds Found in Pet Stores
8 years ago
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Infected Birds Found in Pet Stores
Psittacosis can be fatal to both birds and humans

A recent outbreak of psittacosis in birds sold by pet store
chains in several states has provoked quarantines and recalls
throughout the nation. The potentially fatal disease appears to
have originated with Preferred Birds of Milton, Fla., a supplier
that may have sold infected birds to PetSmart, Petland, and
Superpetz stores.

Psittacosis is a bacterial disease that mostly affects parrots,
parakeets, and cockatiels, and can be transmitted to humans
through direct contact with sick animals. Birds who contract the
illness typically exhibit symptoms such as lethargy, excessive
drowsiness, loss of appetite, poor grooming, nasal discharge,
respiratory and digestive problems, green-colored feces, and
weight loss.

Humans can become infected by inhaling or ingesting fecal dust,
and within a few days or weeks experience flu-like symptoms that
include fever, headaches, nausea, and physical exhaustion.
Children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems
are most susceptible to serious complications from exposure.
Psittacosis can be lethal to both birds and humans, but is
usually treatable with antibiotics.

After two cases of infected birds were confirmed in Georgia, the
state's Department of Agriculture ordered all PetSmart outlets
and one Superpetz store to quarantine all birds for 45 days. The
quarantine requires them to remove birds from contact with the
public and give them medicated feed as a precautionary measure.
PetSmart has also stopped selling birds in all of its stores
across the U.S., and is testing its employees for infection.
Public health agencies in Minnesota and Washington have also
been investigating possible outbreaks because pet stores in
their states purchased birds from the same supplier.

What You Can Do:

- If you or someone you know recently purchased a bird from a
pet store, make sure they are aware of the danger of infection.
PetSmart customers with concerns about birds may call their
customer service line at (800) 738-1385, ext. 2518. Use the
opportunity to encourage PetSmart, which made the compassionate
decision years ago to stop selling dogs and cats, to also stop
selling birds.

- Bird guardians who notice symptoms in their birds, or who
think their bird may have come into contact with a sick bird,
should contact a veterinarian for psittacosis testing. If you
have come in contact with an infected animal, see your

- If you want an avian companion, please don't buy one from a
pet store or breeder! There are many birds available for
adoption from reputable rescue organizations and sanctuaries.
Learn more about the cruelty involved in the exotic bird trade
and where you can adopt a bird in need of a home

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