Fri., November 30, 2012 12:05pm (EST)

Zoo Atlanta Closes Parakeet Exhibit
By Associated Press
Updated: 2 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
Atlanta's zoo has temporarily closed its parakeet exhibit as a precautionary measure after one of the birds died of a bacterial infection that can cause respiratory problems in birds and humans. The zoo plans to test its flock and decontaminate the aviary before it's reopened to the public. (Photo Courtesy of <a href=http://www.flickr.com/photos/23967095@N00/3926734827/>Andrew M. Whitman via Flickr</a>.)
Atlanta's zoo has temporarily closed its parakeet exhibit as a precautionary measure after one of the birds died of a bacterial infection that can cause respiratory problems in birds and humans. The zoo plans to test its flock and decontaminate the aviary before it's reopened to the public. (Photo Courtesy of Andrew M. Whitman via Flickr.)
Atlanta's zoo has temporarily closed its parakeet exhibit as a precautionary measure after one of the birds died of a bacterial infection that can cause respiratory problems in birds and humans.

Zoo Atlanta says an analysis of the dead parakeet indicated the presence of psittacosis, which is also known as parrot fever or ornithosis. It's the first known instance of this disease in the zoo's parakeet collection.

The zoo plans to test its flock and decontaminate the aviary before it's reopened to the public.

People can contract the infection if they handle affected birds or inhale bacteria from bird feces or organic debris. Symptoms in humans are generally mild and may include fever, headache, rash, muscle aches, chills, and upper or lower respiratory tract infections.