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No birds around babies?
Q: Is it true that you’re not supposed to have a bird around newborn babies?
Kristen Perry
A: Kristen, I think you’re referring to a disease called “psitticosis” or “ornithosis.” It is not very common, but newborns could be more susceptible because their immune system is not well developed.

Psitticosis is caused by a bacteria that can be carried by certain types of birds—parakeets, parrots, and macaws, especially those that have been smuggled into the country without getting checked for the disease. Pigeons and turkeys can also have the bacteria. It spreads by breathing in dust from the bird’s droppings and can cause pneumonia.

If you have a bird at home, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s been checked for the disease. Keep the bird away from the baby. Clean the birdcage outside, and wash your hands well afterwards.