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Sick parakeets may give rise to products liability lawsuit

A New Lenox, Illinois, woman says that she wants the public to be aware of a potential health danger involving parakeets. The woman claims that back in April, she purchased a parakeet from a PetSmart store in Orland Hills, Illinois, that may have sickened her and two other relatives. The woman says that she was unaware that the parakeet she purchased was infected with psittacosis, also referred to as parrot flu. The disease is transferable to humans, sometimes through contact with bird droppings, and is distinguished by symptoms similar to cold or flu. The woman says that she only discovered the bird may have been infected by chance when she returned to the store on July 8 to buy another bird as a companion for the other one. It was then that she discovered that PetSmart had removed all of the birds from over 500 of their stores. The retailer took the drastic measure after determining that a single supplier may have sold them infected parakeets. In fact, the store has issued a warning to anyone who may have purchased a parakeet from them between March 12 and May 20. Consumers are urged to look for signs of illness with those birds.

The woman says that she is a PetSmart perks member, and she believes that she should have received an email warning from the company regarding the potential hazard. Officials at PetSmart have admitted that it has confirmed 16 cases of psittacosis at various stores throughout the country. Consumers are urged to look for signs of illness in their birds such as watery stools, shivering, runny eyes, poor appetite and sneezing. Consumers who are injured or made ill by products sold to them may be entitled to recover compensation for their damages. Depending on the circumstances, a retailer who allows a defective product to enter the marketplace can be sued for products liability. If successful, a plaintiff can recover money for time lost at work, medical expenses and other damages.

Source: NBC 5 Chicago, "Family Says it Wasn't Notified of Contagious Parakeets," July 10, 2014.

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