Appendix 3.1 — Common Bird Zoonoses

Type Arboviral encephalitis Histoplasmosis Psittacosis
Description Inflammation of the brain caused by Arboviral infection. Infection by the pathogenic fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. Infection by the bacterium Chlamydia psittaci.
Birds Involved Many species such as waterfowl and wild birds. No birds directly involved as the fungus, H. capsulatum, does not infect birds. Found in both wild and domesticated birds but is more commonly found in the latter.
Source or mode of infection Transferred to birds from blood-sucking insects (such as mosquitoes and ticks). Humans acquire it from infected mosquitoes. Acquired through inhalation of spores from fungus in soils contaminated by bird droppings. Transmitted to host through inhalation of aerosolised particles or by ingesting contaminated food; also acquired through direct contact with infected bird tissues, feces and secreta.
Clinical signs of infection in people First symptoms: fever, chills and headache.
More serious symptoms: drowsiness, nausea, coma, confusion, rigidity and convulsions; may cause death.
Different indications of symptoms depending on severity: ranging from asymptomatic to permanent pulmonary calcification and permanent lesions. Mostly asymptomatic or mild. Mild symptoms: similar to flu. Severe symptoms: fever, chills, malaise, myalgia, loss of appetite, headache, cough and chest pain.
Precautions and preventions Prevent mosquito bites by wearing protective clothing; use repellents, scare tactics and mosquito netting and screening; modify habitats. Clean up bird droppings regularly; moisten droppings to prevent spores from becoming airborne; wear face masks, disposable coveralls, gloves, boots, surgical caps and goggles during clean-up. Wear gloves to prevent bird bites and direct contact with feces; wear facemasks, protective clothing and surgical caps; moisten and spray a 1% solution of household disinfectant on the dropping to prevent the bacteria from becoming airborne.
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