Pigeon Droppings Dangers
Many people are completely unaware how dangerous pigeon poop and waste can be. Literally thousands of people each year are affected by diseases and bacteria carried by birds, and pigeons are a huge reason for this. Pigeon droppings can carry a wide variety of diseases, some are extremely dangerous and can result in death. There are plenty of cases out there proving this point, so this page is dedicated to educating people, and hopefully saving lives!
The most common and most dangerous thing associated with pigeon waste is Histomplasmosis. Histoplasmosis is caused by a fungus (Histoplasma capsulatum) found primarily in the areas drained by the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Both humans and animals can be affected. The disease is transmitted to humans by airborne fungus spores from soil contaminated by pigeon and starling droppings (as well as from the droppings of other birds and bats). The soil under a roost usually has to have been enriched by droppings for two years or more for the disease organism to reach significant levels. Although almost always associated with soil, the fungus has been found in droppings (particularly from bats) alone, such as in an attic.
Mode of Transmission:
Infection occurs when spores, carried by the air are inhaled — especially after a roost has been disturbed. Most infections are mild and produce either no symptoms or a minor influenza- like illness. On occasion, the disease can cause high fever, blood abnormalities, pneumonia and even death. In some areas, including portions of Illinois, up to 80 percent of the population show evidence of previous infection. Outbreaks of histoplasmosis have occurred in Central Illinois.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has reported a potentially blinding eye condition — presumed ocular histoplasmosis syndrome (OHS) — that probably results from the fungus. NIH estimates that 4 percent of those exposed to the disease are at risk of developing OHS.
How to Protect Yourself:
1) Do not enter an area with pigeon droppings or other bird waste.
Pigeon droppings appear to be the most common source of the disease fungus Cryptococcus Neoformans in the environment. The fungus is typically found in accumulations of droppings around roosting and nesting sites, for example, attics, cupolas, ledges and water towers. It has been found in as many as 84 percent of samples taken from old roosts. Even when old and dry, bird droppings can be a significant source of infection.
Mode of Transmission:
Like histoplasmosis, most Cryptococcosis infections are mild and may be without symptoms. Persons with weakened immune systems, however, are more susceptible to infection. The disease is acquired by inhaling the yeast-like cells of the organism. Two forms of Cryptococcosis occur in humans. The generalized form begins with a lung infection and spreads to other areas of the body, particularly the central nervous system, and is usually fatal unless treated. The cutaneous (skin) form is characterized by acne-like skin eruptions or ulcers with nodules just under the skin. The cutaneous form is very rare, however, without generalized (systemic) disease. Outbreaks (multiple cases at a location) of Cryptococcosis infections have not been documented.
Additional Pigeon Related Diseases