In 2005, an outbreak of severe respiratory disease in a mixed poultry flock that was infected with Chlamydophila (C.) psittaci led to dissemination of the infection to at least 100 small poultry farms in 11 districts of Central Germany. At the same time, a total of 24 persons in contact with poultry from one of the flocks reported flu-like symptoms to their physician, thus suggesting zoonotic transmission. Within 3 weeks, seven individuals had to be hospitalized, with three of them requiring intensive care. Analysis of ompA sequences from chlamydial isolates and directly from clinical samples revealed the presence of both genotype A and E/B of C. psittaci at the source of the outbreak and in contact flocks. Genotype A was also detected in the three severely ill patients. The findings of the present study demonstrate the high zoonotic potential of avian chlamydiae. To ensure speedy eradication of psittacosis in poultry flocks and effective treatment of infected humans, fast, sensitive and species-specific detection of the causative agent is essential, as well as close collaboration between regional public health services, attending physicians and the diagnostic laboratories involved.