During an 8-year period, seventy patients were found, by complement fixation testing, to have had ornithosis. A clinical analysis was made of forty-seven who fulfilled strict diagnostic criteria; thirty-three had been referred to a chest clinic, fourteen had been hospitalized. A non-specific, febrile, myalgic illness with respiratory symptoms was the usual clinical syndrome; cough was a prominent, often dramatic, symptom. Pulmonary crepitations, variable radiographic changes, and a normal white blood cell count were found to be useful diagnostic features. Ornithosis sometimes masqueraded as major chest disease, and could be debilitating. Careful retrospective interrogation revealed significant bird contacts in the majority of patients. Treatment with a tetracycline was of possible clinical benefit.
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