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Bird causes infection known as 'parrot fever' in human

A bird kept at the Ruffled Feathers Parrot Rescue and Sanctuary in Hampstead has caused a person to become sick with psittacosis, a rare bacterial infection known as "parrot fever," according to state and local health officials.

The bird tested positive for avian chlamydiosis, which causes infection in humans when they come in contact with fluids, stools or even feathers from an infected animal, said officials from the Carroll County Health Department, which is investigating the incident along with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Carroll County Humane Society.

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The unidentified person who became ill is being treated with antibiotics, officials said. They advised people to call their health care provider if they develop symptoms such as fever, chills or head or body aches within two weeks of being exposed to birds from the sanctuary, a non-profit refuge for parrots and other exotic birds.

Psittacosis is an uncommon infection, with fewer than 10 cases typically occurring across the country each year, though some cases may be missed or misdiagnosed, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The state health department has not reported any cases in Maryland in recent years.

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