The National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) has recently released a comprehensive document about psittacosis. This is a disease of people caused by the bacterium Chlamydophila psittaci (formerly known as Chlamydia psittaci). Psittacosis usually causes flu-like disease but can cause severe pneumonia and other problems. Chlamydophila psittaci is most commonly carried by healthy psittacine birds (those in parrot family) but can also be carried by non-psittacine birds including pigeons and doves. It is an uncommon disease in people but sporadic cases and outbreaks do occur. While treatable, psittacosis is often overlooked in the early stages of illness if the physician does not know the patient has had contact with birds. People that own or have contact with birds should know about psittacosis, and the NASPHV document is an excellent resource.
This disease is another good example why people should make sure their physician knows what types of animals they own or have contact with.