The Ultimate Guide To Chlamydophila Psittaci

Chlamydia psittaci, commonly known as C. psittaci is an intracellular bacterial species that can be lethal, especially among avian species.

It can be transmitted to all kinds of species, primarily birds, but is also known for causing respiratory psittacosis in humans.

The Ultimate Guide To Chlamydophila Psittaci

It is spread by infected birds and is usually transmitted via inhalation.

In this guide, we’ll be taking you through everything you need to know about Chlamydia psittaci from its scientific information to the various symptoms and treatments that can be used to eliminate the bacteria

Scientific Information And Classification

Here is the scientific information and classification for Chlamydia psittaci that you need to know:

  • The domain is Bacteria.
  • The phylum is Chlamydiota.
  • The class is Chlamydiia.
  • The order is Chlamydiales.
  • The family is Chlamydiaceae.
  • The genus is Chlamydia.
  • The species is C. psittaci.

When Was Psittacosis Discovered?

Chlamydia psittaci is one of the main causes of psittacosis. Psittacosis was first established in 1879 in Switzerland when there were seven individuals who contracted pneumonia after being exposed to tropical birds.

The original causative pathogen could not be determined at the time, but it was treated as a virus.

The winter of 1929 to 1930 saw a psittacosis pandemic spread across Europe and the United States with a mortality rate of 20% that spiked to 80% among pregnant women.

It was declared that the pandemic was the result of importing Amazon parrots from Argentina. 

Chlamydia psittaci was first identified in 1930 as a responsible agent for psittacosis, but was not classified as a bacterium until electron microscopy allowed researchers to view and research C. psittaci during the 1960s. 

What Is The Lifecycle Of Chlamydia Psittaci?

C. psittaci is a bacterium that is small (approximately 0.5μm) but goes through a variety of changes during its lifecycle. This is because it works as an elementary body, or EB, between its hosts.

EBs are not biologically active but can survive outside a host thanks to their high levels of resistance against all sorts of environments. 

The bacterium will usually travel from one infected bird and then find its way to another uninfected host and travel to the lungs within small droplets.

This uninfected host can be any species such as other birds or humans. It will then be taken in by the cells in the lungs within an endosome pouch via the phagocytosis process.

This will not destroy the EB as it will become a reticulate body and then replicate within the endosome. 

How Is Chlamydophila Psittaci Treated?

There are certain treatments that can be applied for Chlamydia psittaci infections as patients will usually be on either macrilides or tetracycline.

These will be taken either intravenously or orally, depending on what drug you are prescribed. The treatment tends to last between 10 and 14 days.

It is important that tetracycline is not given to either children or pregnant women as this can prove harmful.

Other treatments may include acetaminophen or ibuprofen and plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Symptoms Of Chlamydia Psittaci?

There are many symptoms that can occur if you are infected with Chlamydia psittaci.

The symptoms vary depending on the species, but here are the most commonly found symptoms of Chlamydia psittaci in humans:

  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscular pain
  • Pneumonia

Although this infection will most likely go away for most people, there are instances where it can cause serious long-term issues or even death if left untreated, especially when it comes to the elderly. 

How Is Chlamydia Psittaci Treated?

There are treatments for Chlamydia psittaci to ease the symptoms. Patients are usually treated with doxycycline or tetracycline between for 10 to 21 days depending on the response to the treatment. 

Other ways to treat the infection include respiratory quinolones such as gatifloxacin, levofloxacin, and moxifloxacin.

How Do You Get Chlamydia Psittaci?

Chlamydia psittaci tends to be transmitted via infected birds such as macaws, parakeets, or parrots and is passed to humans via aerosolization from respiratory tract secretions or dried feces.


In conclusion, Chlamydia psittaci is a bacterium that has been known to cause issues in all kinds of species, especially birds as well as respiratory psittacosis in humans.

It tends to be transmitted via contact, ingestion, or inhalation from birds to mammals.

It starts off with symptoms that are reminiscent of the flu, but then this can develop into pneumonia and become potentially life-threatening.

It’s important to make sure that you seek the assistance and treatment of a medical professional if you feel that you may have been infected.

Jennifer Dawkins

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