Can Polly Give You MAC?
BY HIV Plus Editors
July 01 2009 12:00 AM ET
Although bird droppings can transmit the bacteria that cause Mycobacterium avium complex, which for HIVers can result in night sweats, weight loss, abdominal pain, fatigue, diarrhea, and anemia, it is safe to own healthy pet birds without a fear of becoming ill, experts say.
The keys to continued health for humans and birds are safely handling bird waste and adopting basic hygienic practices [see "HIV + Cats = Toxo?" for safety tips].
HIVers with severely weakened immune systems also should have a veterinarian examine any potential pet bird for illness, wear a surgical mask when cleaning its cage, and avoid contact with wild birds.