For more than 200 years people in the Faroe Islands have supplemented their food by hunting different species of wild birds in the Faroe Islands. Traditionally, juvenile fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) are caught at sea in late August. The fulmars may be infected or colonized with the bacterium Chlamydophila psittaci which may infect the hunter by the respiratory route and mostly presents as an atypical pneumonia, also called psittacosis or ornithosis or parrot fever. In the Faroe Islands it is called 'nátasjúka' meaning 'fulmar disease'. Historically, it has also been called 'September Pneumonia' in the Faroe Islands.
A case series with patients infected with Chlamydophila psittaci.
All four cases presented in this article occurred around the month of September. Improved hygiene measures during the last 50 years in handling the fulmar birds have led to a decline of verified psittacosis in the Faroe Islands. After the last two hunting seasons (2016-2017), four cases of psittacosis were diagnosed and treated in the Faroe Islands. Only nine cases of verified psittacosis have been reported to the Chief Medical Officer of the Faroe Islands during the last 27 years.
There is an association between catching and handling Fulmarus glacialis and human psittacosis disease in the Faroe Islands. Clinicians treating patients with contact with fulmars should be aware of this zoonotic disease.