Birds and their droppings can carry over 60 diseases

When it comes to birds, there may be more than just avian flu to be worried about. It has been suggested that there are over 60 other diseases that birds and their droppings can carry. The problem is especially worrisome in residential areas, as many of them are airborne and can be transferred to humans just by being around droppings.

Chicken farms can be fairly easily secured. With a combination of visual scare devices, sonic distress call emitters, ultrasonic disrupters and roost inhibitors other birds shouldn’t be a problem. If farmers just took this preventative action it could help contain the bird flu outbreak a good deal.

Examples of transmissible bird diseases associated with pigeons, geese, starling and house sparrows: 

  • Histoplasmosis is a respiratory disease that may be fatal. It results from a fungus growing in dried bird droppings. 
  • Candidiasis is a yeast or fungus infection spread by pigeons. The disease affects the skin, the mouth, the respiratory system, the intestines and the urogenital tract, especially the vagina. It is a growing problem for women, causing itching, pain and discharge. 
  • Cryptococcosis is caused by yeast found in the intestinal tract of pigeons and starlings. The illness often begins as a pulmonary disease and may later affect the central nervous system. Since attics, cupolas, ledges, schools, offices, warehouses, mills, barns, park buildings, signs, etc. are typical roosting and nesting sites, the fungus is apt to found in these areas. 
  • St. Louis Encephalitis, an inflammation of the nervous system, usually causes drowsiness, headache and fever. It may even result in paralysis, coma or death. St. Louis encephalitis occurs in all age groups, but is especially fatal to persons over age 60. The disease is spread by mosquitoes which have fed on infected house sparrow, pigeons and house finches carrying the Group B virus responsible for St. Louis encephalitis. 
  • Salmonellosis often occurs as “food poisoning” and can be traced to pigeons, starlings and sparrows. The disease bacteria are found in bird droppings; dust from droppings can be sucked through ventilators and air conditioners, contaminating food and cooking surfaces in restaurants, homes and food processing plants. 
  • E.coli. Cattle carry E. coli 0157:H7. When birds peck on cow manure, the E. coli go right through the birds and the bird droppings can land on or in a food or water supply. 

Besides being direct carriers of disease, nuisance birds are frequently associated with over 50 kinds of ectoparasites, which can work their way throughout structures to infest and bite humans. About two-thirds of these pests may be detrimental to the general health and well-being of humans and domestic animals. The rest are considered nuisance or incidental pests. 

A few examples of ectoparasites include: 

  • Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) may consume up to five times their own weight in blood drawn from hosts which include humans and some domestic animals. In any extreme condition, victims may become weak and anemic. Pigeons, starlings and house sparrows are known to carry bed bugs. 
  • Chicken mites (Dermanyssus gallinae) are known carriers of encephalitis and may also cause fowl mite dermatitis and acariasis. While they subsist on blood drawn from a variety of birds, they may also attack humans. They have been found on pigeons, starlings and house sparrows. 
  • Yellow mealworms (Tenebrio molitor), perhaps the most common beetle parasites of people in the United States, live in pigeon nests. It is found in grain or grain products, often winding up in breakfast cereals, and may cause intestinal canthariasis and hymenolespiasis. 
  • West Nile Virus while West Nile is technically not transmitted to humans from birds, humans can get infected by the bite of a mosquito who has bitten an infected bird. The obvious lesson is that the fewer birds there are in any given area, the better. This translates into a smaller chance of an infected bird in that area, a smaller chance of a mosquito biting an infected bird and then biting a human. 

How do you get/what are bacterial infections?

Bacteria are single-celled microorganisms. Bacteria are able to survive in many types of environments in and on the human body. Most bacteria cause no harm to people. For infecting organisms to survive, they must leave an existing reservoir — either within the current host or in another host — and cause infection in another place. 

Bacterial infections may be marked by localized redness, inflammation, pain or swelling. 

Bacterial infections may be transmitted through direct or indirect contact with a reservoir of infectious bacteria. 

Direct contact occurs when an individual comes into contact with the reservoir via touching infected bodily fluid; sharing beverages containing infectious bacteria; being bitten by an insect or other animal that is carrying the bacteria; or inhaling bacterial particles (bird droppings), often emitted by sneezing or coughing. Sexual contact is a common mode of direct transmission of bacterial infections. 

Certain bacteria are able to survive outside of a host and remain infective for extended periods of time. Indirect infection occurs when an individual comes in contact with such an organism. These organisms may be found anywhere, but when they exist on toys, furniture, door knobs or other personal care products used by people, transmission is more likely to occur. Consumption of contaminated food is another common mode of indirect transmission of bacterial infections. 

Transmission may occur through fecal-oral contact, which occurs when sewage water is consumed or used to wash food. Such transmission often occurs in developing countries with poor sewage or drainage systems. 

The above modes of infection are examples of horizontal transmission, which is when organisms are transmitted from person to person in the same generation or from living person to living person. Vertical transmission occurs when the infection is passed from mother to child during childbirth or fetal development. 

Examples of other common bacterial infections include chlamydia, ear infections, Helicobacter pylori, Lyme disease and osteomyelitis. 

What you need to know about bothersome bird mites

Bird mites are small, very mobile and barely visible insects. They are oval in shape and semi-transparent in color. Usually these unpleasant biting mites are found in warmer regions, in places where birds and their nests are located. Starlings, pigeons, sparrows and poultry are their perfect host to feed from.  

There are 3 species of tiny bird mites that can bite humans.

They are: 

– the northern fowl mite (known as Ornithonyssus sylviarum); 
– the chicken mite that is often called the red poultry mite (Dermanyssus gallinae); 
– the tropical fowl mite (O. bursa). 

 The most problematic mite is D. Gallinae. It is really difficult to eradicate these mites as they are more resistant to miticide chemical and can live for a long period without blood food. 

Why do they bite humans?

When the original food source of bird mites disappears (it can happen when growing birds leave the nest), they move into living spaces to find meal. From farmers raising chickens to people with a nest of birds near their houses, business or people living with infested animals – anyone can become the victim of bird mites. Bird mites’ saliva is the reason of intense itching. Bird mites’ bites are difficult to diagnose. They cause such unpleasant things as: Itching and severe irritation; Reddish spots on the skin; Discomfort and swelling; Infections from scratching. Actual Bird mites don’t live on humans. They can feed on humans but they don’t live under their skin. To avoid the bites of these insects apply some insect repellent that contains diethyl meta-toluamide.  

Their bites often lead to intense itching and severe irritation. Unless bird mites’ treatment is taken to control infestation, symptoms from mites’ bites will continue. Back to contents ↑ Bird mites’ treatment strategies you need to try a female bird mite needs blood to reproduce. When their original host disappears, bird mites become very aggressive and start biting humans. Once your home or business is infested with these blood-feeding mites, getting rid of bird mites becomes a difficult process. Follow these smart strategies to eradicate bird mites and get a better night’s sleep. Back to contents ↑ 4 no-fail strategies to eliminate bird mites Identification and remove the source of bird mites. Nests of birds can be found in roof spaces, on window ledges, in walls’ cavities, in chimneys, around porches, in foundations and basements, cracks and crevices etc. Warning Wear a mask and a pair of gloves when removing bird nests. This should be done to prevent bacterial infections and transfer of bird mites. Clean the walls, floors and ceiling as often as possible with a good miticide. Apply an insect repellent to avoid bird mites’ bites. Reduce irritation associated with bird mites’ bites by using an anti-itch lotion or cream.

Does bird dropping cause ringworm?

Ringworm, as many people would believe is not caused due to worms but is as a result of a fungus which appears on the surface of the skin. The other name for it is Tinea and both humans and animals are prone to being infected by ringworms. It usually appears in the shape of a circle with the affected area being reddish to brownish and is an itchy rash. Ringworms are caused due to dermatophytes which are microscopic organisms that reside on the dead outer layer of the skin or can inhabit in hair or nails that grow from the skin. Ringworms are caused as a result of fungus that grows and multiplies on your skin and this condition is aggravated if you are staying in a climate that is warm or humid. Ringworm is infectious; therefore, getting in touch with other people or animals that have been infected by ringworms is another cause for your condition. Even having a weakened immune system could lead to the being infected by the same. If a bird has been infected with ringworm there is a possibility that the bird droppings carry the infection and it is likely to be passed on to other animals. Also, inhaling dust from dried bird droppings of infected birds can cause ringworms. 

Raw papaya is supposed to be very effective to treat ringworms, where you just apply small slices of the fruit on the affected area. You can also apply a paste of mustard seeds on the affected area. Applying coconut oil on the affected area helps to soften the skin and reduces itchiness. Whatever you do or apply, make sure you do not rub the affected area. If you’re applying something on to it, dab it or just place it over the area. If you rub the affected area, you will end up worsening the condition. Maintain personal hygiene and pat yourself dry, especially the areas in between your groin and toes, as moisture accentuates the breeding of this fungus. If you have pets at home ensure that they do not have ringworms. It is advised that you get your pet checked with a veterinarian for ringworms. Change your vacuum cleaner bag every time you use it to avoid the infection to spread. Clean your yard regularly especially in case of poops of other animals. However, if there is no improvement in the condition for a long time it is best you consult a doctor.