An outbreak of psittacosis in minnesota ture(ey industry workers: Implications for modes of transmission and control

Katrina Hedberg, Karen E. White, Jan C. Forfang, Jack A. Korlath, Keith A J Friendshuh, Craig W. Hedberg, Kristine L. Macdonald, Michael T. Osterholm

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51 Scopus citations


From June through November 1986, an outbreak of psittacosis occurred in Turkey industry workers in central Minnesota. A total of 186 suspect cases were identified, and 122 cases (66%) were serologically confirmed. Cases occurred in three Turkey processing plants, two rendering plants, one farm, and one "further processing" plant (where meat is removed from previously eviscerated carcasses and consumer products, such as roasts, are made). As in previous outbreaks, workers exposed to the viscera of infected birds were at greatest risk of becoming infected. However, our data showed that 31 (25%) of the confirmed cases occurred in workers at the further processing plant who had contact only with previously eviscerated carcasses. Atthough the specific source of infedon and the mode of transmission in these workers are unclear, the use of gloves and masks by all processing workers during an outbreak might help to limit exposure. Control measures, which focused on identifying and treating ill Turkey flocks, were initiated in early September; however, cases continued to occur in Turkey industry workers through November. One of the flocks suspected of causing illness appeared heatthy and, therefore, was not treated. Chlarnydla psmacl infection in this flock was confirmed by culture after the flock had k e n processed. A rapid test for diagnosing C. pslttaci infection in Turkey flocks at the time of processing might be useful in preventing exposure of large numbers of workers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-577
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1989


  • Chlarnydla psfttecl
  • Ornithosis
  • Turkeys


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