Cases of psittacosis tripled in the last five years in Argentina

Cases of psittacosis tripled in the last five years in Argentina
Cases of psittacosis tripled in the last five years in Argentina

Psittacosis is transmitted through close contact with sick birds, such as parrots, parrots, parrots, canaries, goldfinches and pigeons, or with their secretions (photo Ministry of Health of Entre Ríos)

In the Argentinaduring 2024 a psittacosis outbreakan infection caused by bacteria that is transmitted from the close contact with sick birdssuch as parrots, parrots, parrots, canaries, goldfinches and pigeons, or with their secretions.

Confirmed diagnoses of people with psittacosis This year they almost tripled If we compare the notifications made in 2019the year before the coronavirus pandemic, according to the National Epidemiological Bulletin of the Ministry of Health of the Nation, released this Sunday.

In 2019 they had registered 38 infections. On the other hand, from January until the week of May 12, there have been 105 confirmed cases of psittacosis in the country.

The most affected region is Center, which concentrated 85% of the diagnoses, with 88 people affected. Within that total, 61 were registered in the province of Buenos Aires13 in Entre Ríos and 5 in Santa Fe.

The overcrowded conditions of the birds that are captured and are part of the illegal trade favor the transmission of the infection (Photo: Andina)

He Ministry of Health of the Province of Buenos Aires informed Infobae that an epidemiological investigation is being carried out to identify the factors that contributed to the sudden increase in infections.

“A similar outbreak of psittacosis occurred in Europe and was reported earlier this year. In several European countries such as Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria there was an increase in cases and the cause is still unclear. They also refer that the increased sensitivity of diagnostic tests that are being done could influence the highest recordbut it is found still under study“, he commented to Infobae the doctor Ines Estanelonimember of the Commission on Infections Associated with Health Care of the Argentine Society of Infectology and co-founder of the INVERA association.

For prevent infectionit is advisable not to capture birds and wild birds, nor buy them on public roads. If you already have birds at home, you should keep them in ventilated places with enough space, without overcrowding them.

Fever, headache, chills and in some cases, pneumonia are symptoms of psittacosis in humans (iStock)

Symptoms of psittacosis in humans are fever, headache, chills, and in some people, pneumonia. According to a new report from the Argentine Society of Infectology In birds, psittacosis is mostly asymptomaticalthough it can cause feather loss, respiratory symptoms, conjunctivitis and diarrhea.

While the illness is usually mild or moderate, it can sometimes be severe and cause pneumonia, especially in older adults and the elderly who do not receive treatment.

Birds are affected by the bacteria that causes psittacosis. They can transmit it through eye secretions, dried droppings, respiratory secretions and feather dust. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

The infection is caused by bacteria Chlamydia psittaciwhich is transmitted through sick birds such as parrots, parakeets, parrots, canaries, goldfinches and pigeons.

When sick, birds shed the bacteria into the environment through eye secretions, dried droppings, respiratory secretions, and feather dust. When these secretions dry, they remain in the air and are inhaled by people, who can become infected.

“Usually, transmission occurs in closed spaces, with overcrowding of birds and without ventilation. Also in places linked to the capture of wild birds and illegal animal trafficking,” the Health portfolio clarified.

In Argentina, cases of psittacosis almost tripled in 2024 compared to 2019 (Illustrative image Infobae)

During the period from January 2019 to the week of May 12, 2024, 305 confirmed cases of psittacosis and 45 probable cases were recorded in Argentina, out of a total of 1,886 suspects investigated.

The Ministry’s epidemiologists pointed out that when evaluating the curve of confirmed and probable cases, it was observed, at the national level, that there were increases during the first epidemiological weeks of each year between 2019 and 2024. These increases in cases occurred during the hottest months of the year. Although the maximum peak occurred in the week of April in 2024 with 12 confirmed diagnoses.

Regarding regional distribution, 85% of the 305 cases of the period were registered in the Central region. The provinces of Buenos Aires and Entre Ríos are the jurisdictions that concentrate the largest number of affected people, followed by Santa Fe and Córdoba. The Northwest, Cuyo and South region follows in number of cases. The Northeast region did not register confirmed cases in the period.

There were cases of psittacosis in 11 of the 24 jurisdictions of Argentina between 2019 and 2024 / Lab/Virol., Dr. Vester Lewis

During 2024, until the week of May 12, 518 cases of the psittacosis event were reported. Within this registry, 105 (20%) were confirmed, 16 (3%) were probable, and the rest are categorized as “under study.”

So far this year, confirmed diagnoses have been identified in 11 jurisdictions in the country. 84% are concentrated in the Central region (there were cases in all the provinces of the Region, mainly in Buenos Aires, Entre Ríos, CABA and Santa Fe). 9% Whose -San Juan and San Luis-; 6% in NOA –Santiago del Estero, Catamarca and Jujuy-, and 2% in the Southern region –La Pampa.

From the construction of the accumulated endemic corridor, it is observed that confirmed cases of psittacosis in 2024 are at the alert threshold from the third week of January, reaching the outbreak level from the first week of last March.

This year, the highest cumulative incidence (cases per 100,000 inhabitants) of confirmed cases of psittacosis occurs in the adult population aged 30 to 39, followed by 59 to 59, 40 to 49 years. The highest number of cases was recorded in the group of 30-39 years (29), followed by those 40 to 49 years old (22) and 50 to 59 years old (19).

In some European countries, outbreaks of psittacosis had also been detected since the end of last year and until March (Getty Images)

Deaths have also been recorded this year. There were 4 deaths among the confirmed cases of psittacosis. The average age was 52 years. Three of the deceased were residents of the province of Buenos Aires, and one of them was from the province of Entre Ríos.

In dialogue with Infobaethe infectious disease doctor Pablo Scapellatomember of SADI and senior professor of medicine Favaloro Foundation University, commented: “There is an outbreak of psittacosis this year in the country. It is still not clear what factors favored the outbreak. Also There was more active search for cases based on a notice given by the Argentine Society of Intensive Care, which detected more cases of atypical pneumonia”.

Last February, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands had reported, through the Early Warning and Response System (EWS) of the European Union, an increase in cases of psittacosis observed in 2023 and early 2024. The increase was especially marked from November to December 2023.

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