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Safe Bird and Cage Care

One important aspect of preventing psittacosis is to control infection among birds.

  • Keep cages clean; clean cages and food and water bowls daily.
  • Position cages so that food, feathers, and feces cannot spread between them (i.e., do not stack cages, use solid-sided cases or barriers if cages are next to each other).
  • Avoid over-crowding.
  • Isolate and treat infected birds.

Use water or disinfectant to wet surfaces before cleaning bird cages or surfaces contaminated with bird droppings. Avoid dry sweeping or vacuuming to minimize circulation of feathers and dust. Also, remember to thoroughly wash your hands with running water and soap after contact with birds or their droppings. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available. Be sure to have an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.  Then wash your hands thoroughly when you get to a sink.

Use personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves and appropriate masks or face shields,  when handling infected birds or cleaning their cages.

While there is no vaccine to prevent psittacosis, there are things you can do to protect yourself and others. Buy pet birds only from a well-known pet store. If you own pet birds or poultry, follow good precautions when handling and cleaning birds and cages (see Safe Bird and Cage Care).

Previous Infections

Getting psittacosis will not prevent you from future illness. If you get psittacosis, you may still get sick from it again in the future.