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October 1958

The Epidemiology of Psittacosis and Report of a Turkey-Borne Outbreak

Author Affiliations

Houston, Texas

From the Medical Service and the Ben Taub Infectious Disease Laboratory, Jefferson Davis Hospital, and the Department of Internal Medicine, Baylor University College of Medicine.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1958;102(4):537-543. doi:10.1001/archinte.1958.00260210023004

The increasing number of cases of psittacosis reported in the United States has been attributed to less stringent restrictions on the sale of psittacine birds 1-4 and to the increasing popularity of the parakeet as a household pet. The number of cases reported to the National Office of Vital Statistics have increased each year since 1951, when the United States Public Health Service related the interstate and foreign quarantine regulations for the importation of psittacine birds.1 While psittacine birds are probably the commonest source of human psittacosis, many other species of birds have transmitted the infection to man. Pigeons, ducks, chickens, turkeys, canaries, sea gulls, egrets, and even "road runners" (chaparral birds) have been found to harbor the infection.

It is the purpose of this paper to review the history of the epidemiology of the disease and to report an epidemic occurring in two turkey-processing plants in Houston, Texas.

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