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‘Parrot Fever’ alert in Blue Mountains and Lithgow

07 May 2020

 

Blue Mountains and Lithgow residents should avoid contact with wild birds as they may carry a potentially dangerous bacteria.

Since early April, three local residents have been diagnosed with psittacosis also known as ‘parrot fever’.

Psittacosis is a rare bacterial infection acquired through exposure to infected birds or their droppings. Symptoms may develop between 5 and 28 days after exposure, and may range from a mild flu-like illness to severe pneumonia requiring hospitalisation. Older people generally experience more severe symptoms. The disease can be treated with antibiotics.

The bacteria that causes this infection can be found in wild bird populations across the state and has recently been detected in wild birds from the upper Blue Mountains and Lithgow.

Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District Director Public Health, Dr Bradley Forssman is advising locals to take care around wild birds and when mowing the lawn.

“Exposure to birds, or dust containing bird droppings, can result in infection. Direct contact with wild birds, including handling and feeding, should be avoided where possible,” Dr Forssman said.

Protective equipment, including a dust mask and gloves, should be worn where contact is unavoidable and also when gardening or lawn mowing in areas where birds may have left droppings, according to Dr Forssman.

Early symptoms of psittacosis infection include fever, headaches, muscle aches and dry cough, and may progress to severe difficulty breathing. If you have noticed any of these symptoms or have recently been exposed to wild birds or their droppings, please seek medical attention from your general practitioner as soon as possible.

Refer to https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/psittacosis.aspx for further information or call your local Public Health Unit on 1 300 066 055.