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Workers at Two Poultry Plants Sickened by an Outbreak of Psittacosis

EMSL Analytical provides rapid pathogen detection to identify the presence of Chlamydia psittaci from environmental samples utilizing advanced PCR and DNA testing methods.


Cinnaminson, NJ – WEBWIRE

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced they were assisting the Departments of Health from both Virginia and Georgia to investigate a multistate outbreak of psittacosis. The outbreak sickened multiple workers from two poultry slaughter houses owned by the same corporation.

Psittacosis is referred to as parrot disease or parrot fever by some people, but the bacterium, Chlamydia psittaci, that causes it can infect many types of birds as shown by the outbreak at the poultry plants. According to the CDC, “The bacteria can infect people exposed to infected birds. It is important to know that infected birds do not always have symptoms or seem sick. Both sick birds and birds without symptoms shed the bacteria in their droppings and respiratory secretions. When the droppings and secretions dry, small dust particles (including the bacteria) can get into the air. The most common way someone gets infected is by breathing in the dust from these dried secretions. Less commonly, birds infect people through bites and beak-to-mouth contact. In general, people do not spread psittacosis to other people. However, this is possible in rare cases.”

“While this disease is typically quite rare in people, anyone who has contact with pet birds or poultry, including people who work in bird-related occupations, are at increased risk,” said Jason Dobranic, Ph.D., Vice President of Microbiology and Life Sciences at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “This means poultry workers, bird owners, veterinarians, and aviary and pet shop employees are all potentially susceptible to this disease. Fortunately, psittacosis generally causes mild illness, but it can also cause pneumonia and in extremely rare cases, death according to the CDC.”

There are ways to identify the source of an outbreak or proactively test for the presence of Chlamydia psittaci from bird droppings and environmental samples. EMSL Analytical offers this testing service utilizing highly sensitive analytical methods that harness the power of PCR and DNA technologies. 

To learn more about testing for Chlamydia psittaci or other microbial pathogens from environmental samples, please contact EMSL at www.EMSL.com, call (800)220-3675 or email  info@EMSL.com .

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories with over 45 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP 797, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.


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 Chlamydia psittaci
 psittacosis
 poultry
 parrot
 occupational health


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