ShareThis Page

Parrot fever forces aviary to close exhibit

| Sunday, June 2, 2002, 12:00 p.m.

Parrot fever is sweeping the city's North Side, but it has nothing to do with Jimmy Buffett or the Pittsburgh Pirates mascot.

Seven parrots that live in the tropical rain forest exhibit in the National Aviary of Pittsburgh have contracted psittacosis — more commonly known as parrot fever — and the exhibit has been shut down as employees treat the sick birds and disinfect the area.

While that section is closed, other areas of the aviary will remain open, and admission will be half-price. Tiffany Sander, spokeswoman for the aviary, said officials don't know when the tropical rain forest will reopen.

"We really do not know how the virus got into the exhibit," Sander said. "It is fairly common with wild pigeons. Maybe somebody tracked it in on their shoe."

Parrot fever also is found in pet birds. Sander said it's possible that a bird owner may have carried the virus into the exhibit.

The ill parrots have been quarantined and are being treated with tetracycline, a common antibiotic. They are expected to make a full recovery, Sander said.

There are 190 birds in the rain forest exhibit. Sander said all will be quarantined and treated with the antibiotic as a precaution.

Officials from the Allegheny County Health Department recommended closing the exhibit because parrot fever can be transmitted from birds to humans through handling an infected bird or inhaling dust from dried bird droppings.

There have been no reports of any humans being infected in the outbreak.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me