Blue Mountains and Lithgow residents have been warned to avoid contact with wild birds after three local residents were diagnosed with "parrot fever".
The Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District said three residents have been diagnosed with psittacosis, also known as "parrot fever", since April.
Psittacosis is a rare bacterial infection acquired through exposure to infected birds or their droppings. Symptoms may develop between five and 28 days after exposure, and may range from a mild flu-like illness to severe pneumonia requiring hospitalisation. Older people generally experience more severe symptoms. The disease can be treated with antibiotics.
The bacteria that causes this infection can be found in wild bird populations across the state and has recently been detected in wild birds from the Upper Blue Mountains and Lithgow.
Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District public health director, Dr Bradley Forssman, is advising locals to take care around wild birds and when mowing the lawn.
"Exposure to birds, or dust containing bird droppings, can result in infection. Direct contact with wild birds, including handling and feeding, should be avoided where possible," he said.
Protective equipment, including a dust mask and gloves, should be worn where contact is unavoidable and also when gardening or lawn mowing in areas where birds may have left droppings, according to Dr Forssman.
Early symptoms of psittacosis infection include fever, headaches, muscle aches and dry cough, and may progress to severe difficulty breathing. If you have noticed any of these symptoms or have recently been exposed to wild birds or their droppings, please seek medical attention from your general practitioner as soon as possible.