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Pigeon Poop Can Have an Effect on Your Health You May Not Have Realized

Pigeon droppings are gross, not to mention annoying when they cover the side of buildings, and they are also bad for our health. That’s no surprise because we all know that bird droppings can cause infections, but it is interesting to learn just how many diseases bird droppings are linked to, and according to Medical News Today, in addition to avian flu, there are said to be around “60 other diseases that birds and their droppings can carry.”

Pigeons are of particular concern because they tend to live in residential areas and city centers, breeding and roosting in groups. They also produce a large number of droppings, and according to Canada, these droppings are a health risk to the public because there is the chance of contracting transmissible bird diseases such as histoplasmosis and cryptococcosis.

Histoplasmosis is a respiratory disease that is caused by a fungus which grows in pigeon droppings, and when removing these droppings, people can breathe in the fungus. According to Canada, if the exposure is high enough it could cause infection which can result in fever, chest pains, and fatigue.

“Most infections have no symptoms or appear as a mild respiratory illness,” the publication notes, however, those with weakened immune systems are at risk.

In January of 2019, it was reported that a fungal infection, cryptococcus (which can be contracted through pigeon droppings), was a “contributing factor” in a child’s death. The infection is unlikely to affect healthy individuals, but those a weak immune system, like the child in this case, are at risk of infection.

Pigeons can also spread a yeast or fungus infection called candidiasis, which can affect various parts of the body, including the intestines and the urogenital tract, the respiratory system, the mouth, and the skin, Medical News Today reports.

In addition to diseases, Medical News Today notes that birds can be linked to over 50 kinds of ectoparasite, and those found on pigeons include chicken mites and bed bugs, as well as yellow mealworms, which are known to live in pigeon nests.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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