Birds and Their Droppings Can Carry Over 60 Transmissible DiseasesBird infestations can prove more of a hazard than most people realize, as many carry more than 60 transmissible diseases* – this list continues to grow and is not exhaustive of all possible risks posed by pest animals.
Allergic Alveolitus occurs when humans inhale particles of bird dander in the air. Also known as “Pigeon Lung Disease,” this affects the alveoli if the lungs, decreasing the lungs’ ability to function & making it difficult to breathe.
Avian Influenza, also known as “The Bird Flu” is the H5N1 virus which is transmitted through the fecal matter of infected birds. This serious disease is able to live in objects such as bird feeders, baths, and houses, as well as in birds themselves. This disease is well-known for being deadly in humans, causing more severe symptoms than typical flu viruses including high fever, cough, respiratory difficulties, and muscle aches.
Avian Tuberculosis is caused by inhaling microscopic organisms found in the feces of birds. Potentially fatal, this disease is difficult to treat and symptoms include weight loss, swollen stomach, diarrhea, and impaired breathing.
Campylobacteriosis causes gastrointestial distress, usually transmitted through food and water that’s been contaminated by bird fecal matter. Symptoms include diarrhea, weight loss, and lethargy.
Candidiasis is a yeast or fungus infection spread by pigeons. The disease affects the intestines, mouth, skin, urogenital tract, and the respiratory system.
Cryptococcosis is caused by yeast found in the intestinal tract of pigeons and starlings, usually passed by ingestion of infected fecal matter. This illness begins as a pulmonary disease & can advance to affect the central nervous system.
E.coli is generally spread via fecal contamination of food. Birds frequently peck on cow manure, which is one place where E.coli 0157:H7 originates. Infected birds are unaffected but spread the bacteria into food and water supplies.
Erysipeloid is passed by direct contact between humans and birds. Broken skin is affected, which changes from red to blue-red, and the infection can spread to joints.
Giardiasis is caused by an intestinal parasite Giardia found in contaminated food, causing diarrhea, weight loss, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and dehydration.
Histoplasmosis or “Ohio River Valley Fever” is transmitted when humans inhale the Histoplasma capsulatum fungus that grows in dried bird and bat droppings. It is an extremely serious respiratory disease that can prove fatal, especially in those with compromised immune systems, including children.
Newcastle Disease (or “Avian Pneumoencephalitis“) is passed orally through food contaminated by infected bird fecal matter. The Newcastle disease virus causes flu-like symptoms, neurological dysfunction, seizures, conjunctivitis, and respiratory problems.
Pasteurellosis usually occurs when humans are bitten or scratched by birds infected by Pasteurella multocida organisms, though in some cases caused by inhalation via respiratory droplets. Scratches may become red and infected, while respiratory infection can result in bronchitis, pneumonia, or septicemia.
Psittacosis also known as “Parrot Fever,” “Ornithosis,” or “Chlamydiosis” occurs when the C.psittaci bacterium passes to humans via inhalation, contact, or ingestion. This potentially lethal disease causes flu-like symptoms in humans and can quickly escalate to pneumonia.
Q Fever is caused by Coxiella burnetii, a gram-negative pleomorphic bacillus that is passed in the feces of infected birds as well as other animals and ticks. Symptoms in humans include fever, headache, pneumonitis, and photophobia.
Salmonellosis can be traced to the droppings of pigeons, starlings and sparrows. Most often dried waste bacteria is sucked through contaminated air conditioners or vents, contaminating the food and cooking surfaces of restaurants, food processing plants, and homes.
Sarcocystis is a parasytic infection transmitted by birds as well as contaminated water (though this is not yet certain), and is also carried by rats. Symptoms in infected humans include nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Usually only lasting 48 hours or less, this infection can be life-threatening, especially to the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
St. Louis Encephalitis is spread by mosquitoes which have fed on pigeons, house sparrows and finches carrying the Group B virus. The nervous system becomes inflamed, usually causing fever, headache, & drowsiness. It can later result in coma, paralysis, or death. It is especially fatal to persons over age 60.
West Nile Virus (“West Nile Fever” or “West Nice Encephalitis“) is spread by mosquitos that have fed on infected wild birds. A potentially life-threatening infection that can cause weeks or months of illness.