"Bird Chlamydia" (Psittacosis)
We are currently getting a lot of calls regarding “bird chlamydia”(psittacosis) from celebratory duck pond swimmers.
Chlamydia psittaci is a bacteria that various fowl can carry. It is NOT the same as human chlamydia, (Chlamydia trachomatis,) which is a sexually transmitted infection.
Chlamydia psittaci does not cause a genitourinary infection. Testing for sexually transmitted infections (including chlamydia trachomatis) will not be diagnostic for psittacosis. We are always more than happy to provide testing and counseling for sexually transmitted infections, but swimming in the duck pond is NOT an indication to seek testing for any sexually transmitted infection.
Chlamydia psittaci can infrequently cause respiratory infections with symptoms that could include fever/chills, headache, myalgia (muscle aches), and cough. It can rarely cause severe illness and pneumonia. If you have respiratory symptoms, you can call 262-3100 and discuss your symptoms with a Health Service nurse. They can help decide if further evaluation is needed. Please be aware that further evaluation could include testing for covid and/or influenza. You can find good dependable information about psittacosis at the CDC’s website: