NEWS: RI officials warn of diseased parrots, other birds

By the WPRO Newsroom and The Associated Press

Environmental officials are warning that parrots and other birds from a diseased flock have been sold to two Rhode Island pet shops.

The Department of Environmental Management said Monday that a disease known as psittacosis has been found in a flock in Pawtucket.

The bacterial infection can affect parrot-like birds including parakeets, cockatiels and love birds. It can also infect people. The agency says it can be treated with antibiotics, and it's better to treat it quickly. People who have a compromised immune system at greater risk of getting sick.

The agency says anyone who bought a parrot or similar bird from Critter Hut Aquarium and Pets in North Kingstown or in Narragansett should get in touch with a veterinarian.

State veterinarian Dr. Scott Marshall says the bird infection was more common in the early 20th century.

"This is a very common diagnosis made in the 1920's and 30's. People that had birds before the advent of good, effective antibiotics. With effective treatment now, it's very rare. Unfortunately, I just don't think that it's very often in the front of people's minds when physicians, veterinarians, when they're seeing it,"  Dr. Marshall said.