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Zoonotic Diseases. Zoonotic Diseases of Avian Origin. What is Zoonosis? A disease of animals that can be transmitted to humans Zoonotic Diseases: Diseases of reasonable significance Infrequent, rare or potential diseases Infrequent or potential diseases indirectly associated with birds.

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Zoonotic Diseases of Avian Origin

  • What is Zoonosis?

    A disease of animals that can be transmitted to humans

  • Zoonotic Diseases:

    • Diseases of reasonable significance

    • Infrequent, rare or potential diseases

    • Infrequent or potential diseases indirectly associated with birds

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Zoonotic Diseases

  • Result from a variety of causes, infectious and non-infectious.

  • Infectious: bacterial, viral and parasitic agents.

  • Non-infectious: nutritional imbalance or mycotoxicosis.

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Diseases of Reasonable Significance

  • Chlamydiosis

  • Salmonellosis

  • Campylobacteriosis

  • Yersiniosis

  • NewCastle Disease

  • Allergic Alveolitis

  • West Nile encephalitis

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Infrequent or Potential Diseases Indirectly Associated with Birds

  • Staphylococcal food poisoning

  • Aspergillosis

  • Histoplasmosis

  • Cryptococcosis

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Infrequent, Rare or Potential Diseases Birds

  • Mycobacteriosis

  • Colibacillosis

  • Erysipelas

  • Listeriosis

  • Influenza

  • Rabies

  • Cryptosporidiosis

  • Toxoplasmosis

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Chlamydiosis Birds

  • Caused by a bacterium, C. psittaci

  • 159 avian host species

  • One fourth are psittacines

  • 114 species of free living wild birds

  • Other names:

    • Psittacosis – psittacine birds

    • Ornithosis - other avian species

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Chlamydiosis Birds

  • Mammals occasionally transmit C.psittaci to humans.

  • Certain strains of C. psittaci infect sheep, goats and cattle: cause chronic infection of reproductive tract

  • These strains are transmitted to persons when they are exposed to placenta of infected animals

  • Person to person transmission has been suggested, but not proven

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Chlamydiosis Birds

  • Most C. psittaci infections of humans result from exposure to pet psittacine birds

  • However, transmission has been documented from:

    Free-ranging birds, including doves, birds of prey,

    Shore birds

  • Infection usually occurs by inhalation of the organism which has been aerosolized from dried feces or respiratory secretions of infected birds

  • Mouth to beak contact, handling of infected birds, plumage

    and tissues

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Disease in Psittacines Birds

  • Unapparent carriers to a fulminating disease

  • Majority of birds are carriers

  • Incubation period varies from few days to several days

  • Organism is excreted in feces and nasal discharge

  • Clinical signs include: conjunctivitis, dyspnea, diarrhea and emaciation

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Disease in Psittacines Birds

  • Shedding of the organism can be activated

    by stress, shipping, crowding

  • Clinical signs include: Lethargy, anorexia, ruffled feathers, conjunctivitis (serous or mucopurulent ocular discharge, dyspnea, diarrhea (excretion of green to yellow-green urates) and emaciation

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Chlamydiosis Birds

  • Reportable Disease in 47 of 50 states.

  • CDC 1975 – 1984: 1,136 cases (8 deaths)

    1984 – 1991: 1,344 cases (11 deaths)

  • People at risk:

    • Owners of pet birds, pet store employees, pigeon fanciers, farms, poultry processing plant employees, veterinarians, wildlife handlers, zoo employees

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Diagnosis and Treatment Birds

  • Difficult to diagnose the disease in the live bird

  • Post-mortem examination: impression smear from pericardial sac, air sac or liver

  • Treatment: tetracyclines/doxycyclines

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Chlamydiosis Birds

  • C. psittaci is susceptible to most disinfectants and detergents

  • Use a 1:1,000 dilution of quaternary ammonium

    compounds, 1:100 dilution of bleach

  • All birds confirmed for Cp should be isolated and treated

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Salmonellosis Birds

  • All avian species:

    • Finches, poultry, budgerigars, cockatiels, Amazon parrots, Macaws, waterfowl, pigeons, black birds, ostriches, penguins, sea gulls, sparrows, starlings

  • Acquired from other animals (rodents)

  • Human cases have involved types found in wild birds

  • Clinical signs: diarrhea with blood, weight loss and depression

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    Salmonellosis Birds

    • Salmonella -2500 serotypes

    • Major problem in poultry industry

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    Campylobacteriosis BirdsC. jejuni

    • C.jejuni a widespread food-borne pathogen

    • Human infection are associated with acute illness, abdominal pain, diarrhea

    • Infection is acquired by consumption of contaminated poultry meat, water, milk and food products

    • Estimated cases in the USA 2.5 million

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    Campylobacteriosis BirdsC. jejuni

    • Herbivores/scavenger birds: lower prevalence in herbivores than in scavenger birds

    • Free living birds – significant reservoirs

      • Black birds, pigeons, sparrows, starlings, crows, gulls, puffins, magpies, bulbuls, migratory

        waterfowl, flemingos

        Commercial poultry (Ducks, broilers, turkeys, egg production flocks, parent breeding flocks)

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    Yersiniosis Birds

    • Y. pseudotuberculosis

    • Y. enterocolitica

    • 50 species of wild and domestic birds

    • Pigeons and doves – most common

    • Swollen lymph glands

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    Tuberculosis Birds

    • M. avium

    • Endemic in many parts

    • Reported in a vast number of birds

    • Humans are resistant

    • Infrequent cases occur

    • AIDS, leukemia patients (high risk)

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    Allergic alveolitis Birds

    • Significant avian zoonotic disease

    • Common life-threatening

      • extrinsic allergic alveolitis, Budgerigar dander pneumonicosis, pigeon breeder lung

    • UK – 8% in budgie owners

    • Acute, sub acute or chronic forms

    • Reduction in lung capacity, hypersensitivity reaction to feathers, dust and fecal materials

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    Newcastle Disease Birds

    • Caused by NewCastle Disease virus (NDV)

    • Reported in 241 species of birds representing 27 of the 50 orders of the class.

    • Highly susceptible birds include: domestic poultry, pigeons, psittacines, ostriches

    • Waterfowl are least susceptible.

    • Double-crested cormorants- 1990 outbreak

      in North America

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    Newcastle Disease Birds

    • Newcastle disease virus is a human pathogen

    • In the UK the virus is placed in Hazard group 2 of the Advisory Committee on Dangerous pathogens

    • Not life threatening

    • Eye infections, reddening, excessive lacrimation

      edema of the eyelids, conjunctivitis and sub-conjunctival haemorrhage

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    Newcastle Disease Birds

    • Both vaccinal strains and strains virulent for poultry may infect humans

    • Human to human spread has never been reported

    • People known to have been infected with NDV: Lab workers, Veterinarians in diagnostic labs (contact with infective material), vaccination crews when live vaccines are administered as aerosols.

    • 1943-1971:– 37 cases of human infections

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    West Nile Encephalitis Birds

    • West Nile virus – Flavivirus

    • First isolated in West Nile province in Uganda

    • Reported from Israel, Romania, Russia, France, South Africa

    • U.S.A. since early summer of 1999

    • Humans get West Nile encephalitis by the bite of a mosquito (primarily culex spp)

      that is infected with WNV

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    West Nile Encephalitis Birds

    • What is the basic transmission cycle?

    • Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds, which may circulate

      the virus in their blood for a few days

    • After an incubation period of 10 days to 2 weeks, infected mosquitoes can then transmit WNV to humans and animals when while biting to take blood

    • The virus is located in the salivary glands

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    Mosquito vector Birds

    Incidental infections

    West Nile Virus Transmission Cycle

    West Nile


    West Nile


    Incidental infections


    reservoir hosts

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    West Nile virus infection in humans Birds

    • Febrile, influenza-like illness with abrupt onset

    • Moderate to high fever

    • Headache, sore throat, backache, myalgia, arthralgia, fatigue

    • Rash, lymphadenopathy

    • Acute aseptic meningitis or encephalitis

    • Most fatal cases >50 years old.

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    West Nile Encephalitis Birds

    History WNV in USA

    • Prior to August 1999, WNV had never been reported in US

    • In 1999, 62 cases of severe disease, including 7 deaths occurred in the New York area.

    • Large die-off of American crows. A total of

      18 native bird species demonstrated morbidity and mortality in 1999

      High mortality in hooded crows, sparrows, WNV was isolated from crows

    • WNV was isolated from dead cat in the New york area

    • Year 2001- 12 states, 21 humans, 63 horses, 4304 birds (78 species), 480 mosquito pools positive for WNV

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    West Nile Encephalitis Birds

    • Can you get the WNV directly from birds?

    • There is no evidence that a person can get the virus from handling live or dead infected birds. ???

    • Is there a vaccine for WNV?