The state Department of Agriculture is lifting a quarantine of birds at PetSmart stores in the state.
The stores were placed under quarantine in late December and prevented from selling birds due to psittacosis, a bacterial disease also known as avian chlamydiosis.
“PetSmart has fully complied and met all obligations of quarantining the birds,” said Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin. “The company addressed the problem head-on and diligently worked to correct it. It is even voluntarily testing beyond state requirements.”
The quarantine began after PetSmart received some infected birds from a supplier. The quarantine applied only to birds sold at the stores, not to other animals.
“This type of quarantine meant that birds could not be sold from the store. It did not mean that the premises were off-limits to the public. There was some confusion about this,” Irvin said.
The company hopes to resume bird sales by mid-March.
Psittacosis primarily affects parrots, parakeets and other members of the parrot family. It is treatable but can be fatal to the birds. Only in rare cases does it infect poultry. The disease produces flu-like symptoms in humans, but it does not respond to treatments for the flu. The disease is especially dangerous to the young, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems such as persons with chronic disease, AIDS or HIV infection or those taking chemotherapy for cancer.