Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of psittacosis are similar to the symptoms of other respiratory illnesses.

In people

In general, psittacosis is a mild illness. The most common symptoms include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Dry cough

Most people begin developing signs and symptoms within 5 to 14 days after exposure to the bacteria (Chlamydia psittaci). Less commonly, people report symptoms starting after 14 days.

In birds

The signs of C. psittaci infection in birds are non-specific and include:

  • Poor appetite
  • Inflamed eyes
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Diarrhea

Infected birds may not have signs of disease or seem sick. When birds have symptoms caused by C. psittaci infection, veterinarians call the disease avian chlamydiosis.

Page last reviewed: March 17, 2022