Health Hazards Associated with Bird and Bat Droppings: Histoplasmosis

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Two masons were diagnosed with histoplasmosis after conducting demolition work of a century-old brick house in Quebec according to the Center for Disease Control. During this time, they were exposed to a large quantity of dried bird or bat droppings behind the bricks. A strong correlation was found between exposure to demolition dust containing bat or bird droppings and a diagnosis of histoplasmosis. Histoplasmosis is not contagious; it cannot be transmitted from an infected person or animal to someone else.

What is Histoplasmosis?

Histoplasmosis is a disease caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. The fungus lives in the environment, usually in association with large amounts of bird or bat droppings. Lung infection can occur after a person inhales airborne, microscopic fungal spores from the environment; however, many people who inhale the spores do not get sick. The symptoms of histoplasmosis are similar to pneumonia, and the infection can sometimes become serious if it is not treated.

Why is this Important?

Anyone working at a job or present near activities where material contaminated with H. capsulatum becomes airborne can develop histoplasmosis if enough spores are inhaled. However, longer durations of exposure and exposure to higher concentrations of airborne contaminated material increase a person’s risk of developing histoplasmosis.

Appropriate exposure precautions should be taken by these people and others whenever contaminated soil, bat droppings, or bird manure is disturbed. Jobs and hobbies such as bridge inspector or painter, chimney cleaner, construction worker, demolition worker, farmer, gardener, heating and air-conditioning system installer or service person, microbiology laboratory worker, pest control worker, restorer of historic or abandoned building and roofer. If someone who engages in these activities develops flu-like symptoms days or even weeks after disturbing material that might be contaminated with H. capsulatum, and the illness worsens rather than subsides after a few days, medical care should be sought and the health care provider informed about the exposure.

What do you do if you have droppings in your structure?

  • Inspection. Contact your local pest control expert to handle the situation and perform a thorough inspection.
  • Exclusion. Exclude birds, bats, wildlife or rodents from a building is the beginning to block access to indoor roosts and nesting areas.
  • Trapping & Removal. Use a variety of devices both inside and outside the structure to remove and catch pests.
  • Sanitize. Rodents and wildlife leave behind pheromones and may attract other rodents or wildlife to the structure. Using hepa-filer vacuums and other safety materials, droppings are removed safely and sanitized to neutralize feces and urine that can carry bacteria.
  • Warranty/Follow Up. Depending on the service provided a warranty is provided and ongoing maintenance services may be recommended.

It is important to contact your local Albany bat removal specialist at the first signs of bats, rodents or wildlife animals in your home. Attempting to control and remove wildlife and other mammals you’re your home is dangerous and should be left up to a wildlife and bat removal specialists. Avoid the risks associated with rodents and wildlife and contact a licensed professional. Thomas Pest Services offers bat removal services to Chatham, East Greenbush, Saratoga and surrounding areas throughout the Capital Region along with wildlife and rodent removal. Contact us for a free inspection to safely remove bats and other wildlife from your structure.


Tags: health risks  |  bat droppings  |  bird droppings


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