Swedish Man Dies of Rare Parrot Fever, Eight Others Infected

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Monday, July 29, 2013

A man in the southern region of Sweden has died of parrot fever, a rare disease. Several people who spent time with the man during his illness are now also reported to have been infected.

A Swedish man recently died in the southern region of the country of a rare disease known as Psittacosis, or parrot fever.

Normally, it is passed from birds to other birds, but humans handling various types of birds or their droppings are sometimes infected.

While the bird-to-human form is rare, even rarer is human-to-human transmission.

Since the 75-year-old man's passing in March 2013, at least eight other people have become infected. All of the individuals, including his caretakers, had reportedly spent time with the man, according to The Local.

"This person was very sick and it was an extreme case. It's still hugely uncommon though, no one was infected third hand from the secondary cases we had," Arne Runehagen, doctor at the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control told the TT news agency.

The Local reported there is only one previously known case of human-to-human transmission, which had occurred in Scotland.

Persons infected with parrot fever have pneumonia-like symptoms, including fever, diarrhea, chills and severe headaches. Although, sometimes persons with the disease show mild cold-like signs or no signs at all.

Normally, a person contracting psittacosis can be treated with antibiotics, such as tetracycline or doxycycline.

According to a 2009 The Local report, in the time frame between 1999 and 2008, a total of 124 cases of parrot fever were discovered in Sweden. This news was reported as a case was diagnosed in 2009 with a 50-year-old man dying from the disease. It is believed he contracted parrot fever after cutting down a tree that contained a large bird's nest.

It is not clear how the 75-year-old man in Sweden contracted the disease.

Contact
Leigh Goessl
(416) 410-9675

Source: Digital Journal

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