Psittacosis (Parrot Fever) Treatment & Management

Updated: Jul 24, 2019
  • Author: Klaus-Dieter Lessnau, MD, FCCP; Chief Editor: Burke A Cunha, MD  more...
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Treatment

Medical Care

Consider the diagnosis of psittacosis in patients with community-acquired pneumonia who have been exposed to birds. The mainstay of medical care is antibiotic therapy.

Standard infection-control practices and droplet transmission precautions are sufficient for the medical management of humans with psittacosis, and specific isolation procedures (eg, private room, negative-pressure air flow, masks) are not indicated. [1, 6]

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Consultations

Notify public health authorities about cases of psittacosis.

Obtain a consultation with an infectious disease specialist.

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Diet

Patients require no specific diet.

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Activity

Patients do not require activity restrictions.

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Prevention

Instruct high-risk individuals to avoid handling newly imported or sick birds.

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Further Outpatient Care

Instruct patients with psittacosis to see a physician if symptoms recur (ie, relapse).

Patients with relapses may need prolonged retreatment (eg, 3-4 wk).

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Further Inpatient Care

Severe psittacosis requires intravenous antibiotics and hospital admission.

Isolation is not indicated during hospital stay.

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Inpatient & Outpatient Medications

Patients with psittacosis may require doxycycline, usually 100 mg IV; alternatively, consider PO administration with the same dose twice a day.

Chloramphenicol is the third drug of choice but is rarely used in the United States.

Consider changing erythromycin from intravenous to oral administration (eg, 500 mg qid).

Chloramphenicol is rarely used in the United States because it may cause agranulocytosis.

Consider changing quinolones from intravenous to oral administration.

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Transfer

Transfer patients with psittacosis who have acute respiratory failure to an intensive care unit.

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