Birds quarantined at Texas pet stores

March 1, 2006

PetSmart Inc. has reportedly offered to quarantine birds at its Texas stores after two of them began showing signs of a bacterial infection.

Jennifer Pflugfelder, a spokeswoman for the Phoenix-based PetSmart, said two cockatiels tested positively for psittacosis, or parrot fever -- a common bird infection affecting the respiratory system.

"This is most certainly not the bird flu, this is a common illness in birds," Pflugfelder said.

It's typically difficult to trace the origins of psittacosis, but Pflugfelder said PetSmart had identified the source as a U.S. distributor that supplies its Texas stores.

The infection can be passed to humans, so customers who purchased birds recently have been notified by PetSmart. But no other birds are known to have displayed any symptoms, the Dallas Business Journal reported Wednesday.

PetSmart said it has recalled all birds from the selling floor for testing at on-site medical facilities and will continue the quarantine birds for the next 30 days at its 75 Texas stores.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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