Ga. quarantines PetSmart birds


Published: Tuesday, January 1, 2008 at 9:02 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 1, 2008 at 9:02 a.m.

ATLANTA - The state Department of Agriculture has quarantined all birds sold at the 35 PetSmart stores in Georgia following the outbreak of a bacterial disease that can be transferred to humans.

The quarantine was announced because of two confirmed cases of avian chlamydiosis one at a PetSmart in Hiram and one in Woodstock, state agriculture commissioner Tommy Irvin said. It was also issued for the Superpetz store in Martinez near Augusta.

Avian chlamydiosis primarily affects parrots, parakeets and other members of the parrot family. Once passed to a human, it is called psittacosis.

Irvin said Preferred Birds, the Florida-based dealer used by PetSmart, has also had confirmed cases of the bacteria.

The state is requiring stores to move the birds away from customers and feed the animals medicated food for the next 45 days.

Washington state and Minnesota both issued warnings last month about possible avian chlamydiosis in birds bought at PetSmart.

The birds don't necessarily show symptoms, which include droopiness, diarrhea and nasal discharge.

Humans can catch the illness by inhaling dried feces of infected birds. Symptoms in people include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, tight chest and a dry cough. The disease can be treated with antibiotics.

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