Owning a bird
- Birds can transmit an illness called psittacosis to humans. Symptoms of psittacosis include flu-like symptoms - chills, fever, loss of appetite, headache and cough.
- Psittacosis is caught by breathing in dust that contains bird droppings or from a bite. It can last several weeks, and can occasionally be very serious.
- While it can be caught from contact with any birds, the most common transmitters are the parrot family, which includes budgerigars.
- If you have a fever or cough that persists, ensure that your doctor is aware that you own a bird or have come into contact with one, so that he can check you out for psittacosis.
What can I do to make owning a bird safe?
- Always keep your bird cage clean.
- When you do clean your bird cage, always wear gloves and a mask; it’s also best to use a wet cleaning method.
- Ensure that you are very careful when disposing of bird droppings from the cage – bag them carefully and put them straight into the bin.
- Never kiss – or allow your children to kiss – your bird.
- It is better for your household environment if your bird is kept outside.
Last revised: Thursday, 18 August 2016
This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.
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