New Delhi, March 7: The World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Tuesday that a severe outbreak of psittacosis, also known as parrot fever, has affected several people across multiple European countries. The outbreak, which was initially identified in 2023, has persisted into the early part of this year, resulting in five reported deaths.

Countries including Austria, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, and The Netherlands have reported an increase in cases, with the infection primarily associated with contact with infected birds. The rise in psittacosis cases was particularly marked from November-December 2023. 'Mystery' Fever Grips Mumbai: Patients Report 'Unusual' Fever With Perplexing Symptoms and Full-Body Rash, but Test Negative for Dengue and Other Infections.

What is Parrot Fever or Psittacosis?

Psittacosis is a respiratory infection caused by the bacteria Chlamydophila psittaci, commonly found in birds. Human infections typically occur through contact with infected birds and are often seen in individuals working with pet birds, poultry, veterinarians, and gardeners in areas with infected bird populations. Bat Virus in Thailand: EcoHealth Alliance Researchers Discover Deadly Bat Virus with Zoonotic Potential in Cave, Reports.

Psittacosis: Investigations and Measures

In response to the outbreak, affected countries have initiated epidemiological investigations to identify potential exposures and clusters of cases. Measures include analyzing samples from wild birds to determine the prevalence of C. psittaci. The WHO continues to monitor the situation and currently assesses the risk as low based on available information.

Psittacosis: Symptoms and Treatment

Symptoms of psittacosis include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and dry cough, typically developing within 5 to 14 days after exposure to the bacteria. Prompt antibiotic treatment is effective and can prevent complications such as pneumonia. With appropriate antibiotic treatment, psittacosis rarely results in death (less than 1 in 100 cases).

While some cases have led to pneumonia and hospitalization, the WHO highlighted a low likelihood of human-to-human transmission. The organisation maintains a low-risk assessment based on current information and will continue to monitor the outbreak.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Mar 07, 2024 03:57 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website