Swedish man dies from rare parrot fever

A 50-year-old man from Karlskrona in southern Sweden has died from parrot fever.

When the man was admitted to hospital, doctors diagnosed him with a serious case of pneumonia, according to the Sydöstran newspaper.

Tests later revealed that the man was infected with the Chlamydophila psittaci bacteria which is common in birds but can also spread to humans.

Ten days before he died, the man had cut down a tree with a large birds nest and was most likely infected then.

Parrot fever, also known as psittacosis, must be reported to the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (Smittskyddsinstitutet) as well as infectious disease specialists at local health authorities.

The Institute for Infectious Disease Control is urging caution for people tasked with clearing trees and brush or cleaning eves and gutters with bird nests. The agency warns that wild birds exhibiting signs of the disease are capable of spreading it. Anyone who has handled bird droppings is urged to wash their hand thoroughly.

Between 1999 and 2008, a total of 124 cases of parrot fever were discovered in Sweden, according to statistics from the Institute for Infectious Disease Control.

The number of cases varies greatly from year to year, ranging from 29 in 1999 to two cases in 2006. Approximately one percent cases prove fatal.

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