Bird Bites are a Real Health ThreatWould it surprise you to know that over six million American families have a pet bird? And like all domestic animals, birds come with a variety of interesting problems. Besides the mess that they can make and parasites they carry, they also bite! And those beaks are designed for crushing seeds and berries. So they can do some serious damage to those they bite -- even causing bone fractures and amputation of fingers!
In this article, bird bites and their treatment are discussed. Infection from bird bites is a big concern. Birds carry many of the common bacteria we are exposed to in our environment such as E. coli, Samonella, and Staphylococcus. But they also can transmit to humans (through bites and scratches) Lactobacillus, Pasturella multocida, and Proteus.
Infection is a major concern after a bird bite severe enough to cut the skin open. Without direct evidence from studies to guide treatment, the following suggestions are made:
Bird owners and family members don't have to worry about getting rabies from a bird bite -- domestic birds don't carry rabies. And except for training the bird not to bite, no further action (e.g., quarantine) is suggested after a bite. Of course, advising family members (especially children) not to stick their fingers in the cage toward the bird might be a good idea, too.
Carissa L. Meyer, MD, and Joshua M. Abzug, MD. Domestic Bird Bites. In The Journal of Hand Surgery. September 2012. Vol. 37A. No. 9. Pp. 1925-1928.
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