Chlamydophila ( Chlamydia ) psittaci

Authored by: Dongyou Liu

Manual of Security Sensitive Microbes and Toxins

Print publication date:  April  2014
Online publication date:  April  2014

Print ISBN: 9781466553965
eBook ISBN: 9781466553989
Adobe ISBN:


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Chlamydophila (Chlamydia) psittaci is an obligate intracellular pathogen with the ability to efficiently colonize mucosal surfaces and thrive within a wide variety of animal hosts. As the pathogenic agent of a primarily avian respiratory disease called ornithosis or psittacosis (psittakos, Greek word for parrot), C. psittaci exerts sizeable impact on poultry farming and bird breeding economic returns. Given its ability to transmit from birds to other animals (e.g., cattle, horses, and pigs) as well as humans through respiratory route, and cause significant morbidity and mortality, C. psittaci is regarded as a category B bioterrorism agent by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States. Indeed, psittacosis (parrot fever) pandemic across the United States and Europe in the winter of 1929–1930 produced a mortality rate of 20% and up to 80% in pregnant women. The aftermath of this outbreak and how it was handled played a crucial role in the founding of the National Institutes of Health in the United States.

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