Pet birds can spread diseases to humans.

Pet birds can spread diseases to humans. Image: Pixabay

Five diseases you can catch from pet birds

Catching diseases from a pet bird is possible through exposure to pathogens present in the bird’s feces, saliva, or feathers.

Pet birds can spread diseases to humans.

Pet birds can spread diseases to humans. Image: Pixabay

Our avian companions, with their beautiful plumage and cheerful chirps, bring a touch of joy into our lives. But it’s important to remember that, like any animal, pet birds can carry diseases transmissible to humans. Understanding these potential risks and practicing good hygiene can ensure a healthy and harmonious relationship with your feathered friend.

While pet birds can carry diseases transmissible to humans, Pet Assure assures us the risk is generally low. However, it’s important to be aware that certain individuals are more susceptible. This includes young children, the elderly, people with compromised immune systems (HIV-positive, organ transplant recipients, undergoing chemotherapy), For these at-risk groups, consulting both their doctor and veterinarian about potential risks from pet birds is advisable.

The Diseases

1. Psittacosis (Chlamydiosis): This bacterial infection, also known as parrot fever, is one of the more concerning zoonotic diseases (transmissible from animals to humans) carried by birds. Symptoms in humans can mimic flu, with fever, chills, and muscle aches. In severe cases, it can affect the lungs, liver, and heart.

2. Salmonella: This bacteria, commonly associated with food poisoning, can also be carried by birds. It spreads through contact with contaminated droppings or surfaces. Symptoms include diarrhoea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps.

3. Avian Tuberculosis: This Mycobacterial infection, similar to human tuberculosis, can be transmitted through inhalation of infected dust particles from bird droppings. While rare, it can cause flu-like symptoms and respiratory problems.

4. Aspergillosis: This fungal infection can affect both birds and humans. Exposure to fungal spores in bird droppings or feathers can lead to respiratory problems, especially in individuals with weakened immune systems.

5. Cryptococcosis: Another fungal infection, Cryptococcosis can cause flu-like symptoms and even meningitis if inhaled from spores present in dried bird droppings.

Minimising the Risk:

While these diseases may sound scary, the good news is that the risk of transmission can be significantly reduced with proper hygiene practices:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling your bird, their cage, or food and water dishes.
  • Maintain a clean cage environment by regularly removing and disposing of droppings.
  • Schedule regular checkups with an avian veterinarian for your bird to ensure their health and minimise the risk of them carrying zoonotic diseases.
  • People with weakened immune systems should be especially cautious when interacting with pet birds.

By being aware of the potential risks and taking preventative measures, you can continue to enjoy the companionship of your feathered friend while safeguarding your own health. Remember, a happy and healthy bird is less likely to carry or transmit any diseases.


Artificial Intelligence assisted in compiling this article.