Parrot fever halts PetSmart bird sales

PetSmart has halted sales of birds at 775 of its stores after cockatiels at 23 of the U.S. retail chain's shops tested positive for parrot fever.

A spokesman said the company suspended bird sales in 44 states as a precaution and has quarantined birds that tested positive for the condition known as psittacosis, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said Saturday.

Psittacosis, or parrot fever, is caused by bacteria and can be spread to people through contact.

The spokesman said company employees always take the necessary precautions when dealing with birds for sale, and that no employee had tested positive for psittacosis.

The company said it has contacted who purchased birds from any of the chain's stores since Oct. 1 to notify them of the situation.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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