In December 2008, three hospitalized cases of suspected psittacosis infection were notified by respiratory disease clinicians from a local hospital to the Regional Epidemiology Unit of Pays de la Loire, France. They all had attended a bird fair. A retrospective cohort study was conducted among exhibitors and organizers to identify potential risk factors in relation to this fair. Environmental and veterinary investigations were implemented to trace potential sources of infection. We identified two confirmed, two probable and 44 possible cases among participants. The attack rate in exhibitors and organizers was 38% (33/86). The median incubation period was 11 days (range 6–22 days). Individuals located in two particular sectors of the showroom were found to be at double the risk of developing psittacosis (relative rate 2·1, 95% confidence interval 1·03–4·18) than those in other sectors. Pooled faecal samples of birds belonging to a possible case exhibitor tested positive for Chlamydiaceae by PCR. Ventilation conditions in the showroom were inadequate. This investigation allowed the formulation of recommendations to prevent psittacosis in bird exhibitions which are held weekly in France.
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