Medicine: For the Birds

Psittacosis, or parrot fever, produces chills, fever, nausea and occasional pulmonary disorders; if untreated, 20% of its victims will die. Not surprisingly, it most often strikes people who keep or handle parrots or other pet birds. But psittacosis may not be the only ailment that bird owners can acquire from their feathered friends. A pair of English researchers report in The Lancet that the same organism that causes parrot fever may also bring on a form of heart dis ease. Doctors have long been looking for causes other than rheumatic fever for disease of the heart valves; it is only relatively...

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