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Diseases that can be passed from animals to humans are called zoonotic diseases. Any type of pet can put you at risk of contracting a zoonotic illness.

Read this article to learn about zoonotic illnesses that affect birds and their owners. While the odds of infection are lowered with proper hygiene standards, it is good to be familiar with common symptoms and methods of transmission.

1.Allergic Alveolitus

While not truly zoonotic disease in the sense that it does not affect birds, bird owners can engage into Allergic Alveolitus by inhaling particles of bird dander in the air. Allergic Alveolitus is also named as Pigeon Lung Disease and Parakeet Dander Pneumoconiosis.

2.Avian Influenza

It is a well-known and deadly zoonotic disease. It is passed by coming into contact with the fecal matter of infected birds. While H5N1 is not seen as a particularly common threat to caged pet birds, it is however possible for any bird to become infected and transmit the virus to other birds and people.

3.Avian Tuberculosis

Avian Tuberculosis is caused by inhaling microscopic airborne organisms that are shed in infected birds’ stool. This disease can be hard to treat in both birds and humans and can lead to death.


Campylobacteriosis is a bacterial infection that can lead to gastrointestinal problems. It is usually transmitted through waste contamination of food and water. While diarrhea, weight loss, and lethargy are common, Campylobacteriosis can be in birds that show no signs of illness.


It is also known as Psittacosis and Parrot Fever, Chlamydiosis normally produces symptoms such as eye infections, diarrhea, and respiratory issues. Highly contagious, Chlamydiosis requires swift and vigorous antibiotic treatment plus placing birds under quarantine to avoid the spread of infection.


Cryptosporidiosis is caused by a microscopic worm called Cryptosporidium that takes up place in the intestines of its hosts. The parasite is transmitted through the consumption of food and water that has been contaminated by the feces of an infected animal. Around 80% of those who come in contact with it come down with signs of illness. It takes one week before any ssigns appear. Outbreaks have even occurred in daycare centers. 


Giardia is also intestinal parasite that is transmitted through the ingestion of contaminated food. Signs of Giardia infection are severe diarrhea, weight loss, greasy stools, stomach cramps, and dehydration.  It can be passed around in areas where people drink raw water and it can be found in childcare centers. The best preventions of Giardia is frequent hand washing. 

8.New Castle Disease

Although New Castle Disease is normally seen in wild birds as well as chickens, it can affect parrots and other species that are commonly used as pets. New Castle Disease is a virus that causes neurological dysfunction, seizures, and respiratory problems. It is transmitted through oral and fecal fluids. Another one of the symptoms in chickens is the decrease in egg laying. Although it is not a common disease among pet birds, outbreaks have occurred when spread through vehicles, equipment, water as well as feed.It can be spread from transporting equipment. 


Sarcocystis can cause severe respiratory distress in birds. Signs of Sarcocystis are yellowish droppings, tail bobbing, breathing difficulty, and lethargy. Sarcocystis infections are often fatal in birds who don’t receive proper treatment.


The Salmonella bacteria is usually contracted through the intake of contaminated food and water.  Antibiotic treatment usually brings the illness under control promptly. Signs of Salmonellena are nausea, diarrhea,vomiting, fever, a headache, painful abdominal cramps, and the chills that go along with the fever.

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