Bird related pathogenic diseases

Bird fouling is an extremely hazardous material. Micro organisms within the fouling are carriers of many pathogenic diseases.

Extrinsic allergic alveolitis
More commonly known as “pigeon fanciers lung”, this is a serious allergic state that cannot be remedied while any other associated bird matter (fouling feathers, nesting debris) is present.

This bacteria is passed onto humans via bird fouling, contaminated feathers and nesting materials. It is estimated that over 68% of the feral pigeon population carries paratyphoid strains of the salmonella bacteria.

The yeast fungus (histoplasma capsulatum) which causes this infection grows in the surface soil in many parts of the world. The spores thrive in bird fouling. Humans contact the disease by breathing in the spores. Symptoms are loss of appetite, diarrhoea and liver enlargement. Diagnosis is by blood test or by growing the fungus from spewtum specimens.

A very serious illness which begins as a lung infection and can progress to attack the meninges and manifest itself as meningitis.

Since the introduction of penicillin, it has become very rare. It is a very serious type of wound infection. It however still possible for everybody in close proximity to birds to be attacked by virulent strains of streptococcus pyogenes which enter through open wounds.

This illness manifests itself as a severe case of food poisoning. Contamination from the campylobacter jejuni is also known to be transmitted by corvids such as magpies pecking at the milk bottle tops and contaminating the milk.

Related to two similar diseases which are both influenza type viruses. The young and elderly are particularly at risk.

i) Ornithosis – the vector is a bacterium, chlamydia psittici
ii) Psitticosis - the closer of the two to a typical pneumonia.