Avian zoonoses – a review

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Birds are one of the most interesting and most colourful groups of animals, but they can also be a source of zoonotic factors dangerous for humans. This paper describes the threats to human health from contact with birds. The most vulnerable occupational groups associated with birds are veterinarians, owners of poultry farms, breeders of ornamental birds, zoo personnel, and poultry slaughterhouse workers. Ornithosis is the most dangerous zoonosis of the avian bacterial diseases. Among other hazardous bacterial factors, Salmonella and Campylobacter are responsible for gastrointestinal diseases. Avian influenza is the most dangerous of the viral diseases. It should be noted, however, that avian influenza is a disease of birds, not humans. The recent threat which has appeared is infection with West Nile virus. The results of serological examinations of birds and humans indicate that the virus exists in our ecosystem. Allergic alveolitis connected with the pigeon tick and the Dermanyssus gallinae mite also merits mention. In any case, where people have contact with birds or their droppings and secretions, special precautions should be taken. This way the negative effects of birds on human health can be minimised or eliminated

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