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Five Dead, Dozens Hospitalized Over ‘Parrot Fever’

Five people have died and dozens more have been hospitalized as “parrot fever” spreads across Europe, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.

In December 2023, the Daily Caller reported that there was a noticeable increase in cases of “parrot fever” across Sweden. This strange but mild illness can quickly develop into severe pneumonia or meningitis. By February 2024, Austria, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands had also followed Sweden's lead in reporting an increase in the number of infections. according to WHO disease outbreak alert. So far, five deaths and dozens of infections have been reported across Western Europe.

This bacterial disease is actually called “parrot disease” and is spread through wild and pet birds, such as parrots and parakeets. Dogs, cats, horses, ruminants, pigs and reptiles can also be infected, the WHO said. The disease is treatable as long as antibiotics are given in a timely manner and there are no complications.

According to WHO, Austria only sees one to four cases of psittacosis each year, but 14 cases of psittacosis were confirmed in 2023, and four more since the start of 2024. None of these individual cases reported international travel or contact with wild birds, so it is unclear how they contracted the disease.

Some other infected individuals across Europe were reported to have come into contact with wild birds, such as through bird feeders, but many of those who became ill had no explanation for their contact with wild birds. . (Related: Authorities issue national alert after virus outbreak results in death in India)

The WHO described the situation as “unusual and unexpected” and is conducting further investigations to determine whether the increase is “real” or due to increased surveillance. Bird-related diseases have increased rapidly worldwide in recent years, including large outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HAPI), which is said to be rapidly evolving, but poses a low threat to humans. .

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