Chlamydia avium detection from a ring-necked parakeet (Psittacula krameri) in France.
The crossing of host species barriers, through the spreading populations of introduced pet animals that become established in the wild, sets the stage for zoonotic pathogen (re)emergence. A literature review on pathogens that are hosted by the ring-necked parakeet (Psittacula krameri), a worldwide introduced pet, highlighted local infections of captive birds by chlamydial agents with high sanitary risk for human health in its introduced range. We searched for these pathogens through cloacal swabs collected from 85 individuals in an invasive population established in the suburban areas of Paris (Ile-de-France) from 5 localities during the winter seasons between 2011 and 2014. Based on quantitative PCR analysis, Chlamydiaceae shedding was detected at too low levels for species identification in 5 birds, but 1 parakeet (found dead) was positive for Chlamydiaceae typed as Chlamydia avium. The only known hosts recorded for C. avium in Europe are feral pigeons (Columba livia) and captive psittacines. This result raises the question of the sanitary risks associated with new pathogen transmission from exotic pets released in the wild, which could locally affect birds and potentially people who feed birds.