Chlamydial infections in birds of prey presented to rehabilitation facilities

Chlamydia psittaci is a bacterial infection of birds that can sometimes cause disease in humans as well. Due to its significant infectious potential, it is important that staff at rehabilitation centers are educated as to the prevalence, types and clinical presentations of Chlamydia spp. infections in admitted raptors.  Understanding the extent of this disease in CA. raptor species is the first step in determining the significance of this disease in wild raptor populations, and whether a relationship exists between infection and other risk factors.

Brittany Seibert, a master’s student in the Avian Sciences Graduate Group and Dr. Michelle Hawkins (Director of the California Raptor Center) will coordinate the collection of blood and oral/ocular/cloacal swabs for Chlamydia psittaci from all raptors presented to 5 major rehabilitation centers in California (including CRC) over a 1-year period.  We will determine the prevalence (extent) of this disease in different species in differing parts of the state.  We will also evaluate whether birds with disease have additional diseases or other risk factors. The relationship among infection and species, sex, age, season of admission, presenting complaint and physical examination findings will also be evaluated.