Humans, Pets Getting Sick From Bird Droppings

Human health dangers of bird droppings .

“The disease affects the skin, the mouth, and especially the vagina”

| By Pure Air Control Services, Washington DC — The most serious health risks arise from disease organisms that can grow in the nutrient-rich accumulations of bird droppings, feathers and debris.

Not only are bird droppings an unsightly mess that can be difficult to remove and cause slip-and-fall accidents, they also harbor numerous human pathogens.

How dangerous are bird droppings to human health? Turkey Poop Ruins Family Christmas

The question seems simple but quantifying a human’s risk of acquiring disease from a bird or its droppings is difficult since exposure to the pathogens does not always result in disease and most bird-related zoonotic diseases are not reportable to health authorities.

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. It is a dimorphic fungus that can be either in yeast form or in filamentous form.
  • 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. Vagina Health Myths That Just Won’t Go Away
  • 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, headaches, 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, sparrows, and rodents. 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 infection: It is one of the common infection caused by an enteric bacteria. This bacteria often traced in the fecal matters. When some bird or rodent visit such sites they carry these and spread to humans. Such as when birds peck on cow manure, the E. coli (O157:H7) go right through the birds and the bird droppings can land on or in a food or water supply.

Bird fecal matter and feathers can have devastating effects on the heating and cooling components and indoor air quality of a commercial facility.

Pigeon problems can affect employees, maintenance personnel and potentially customers. Read more. 

Fungal Infection (Histoplasmosis) in Dogs – Histoplasmosis refers to a fungal infection caused by the Histoplasma capsulatum fungus.

Dogs usually ingest the fungus when they eat or inhale contaminated soil or bird droppings. The fungus then enters the dog’s intestinal tract, where it causes a diseased condition to develop.


The most common symptoms for dogs are lack of appetite, weight loss, depression, and diarrhea with straining. Other potential signs may include:

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing (dyspnea), associated with harsh lung sounds
  • Unable (or unwilling) to exercise
  • Enlarged lymph nodes (lymphadenitis)
  • Lameness
  • Eye and skin changes
  • Fever, up to 40 degrees Celsius (104.0 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Pale gums and moist bodily tissues (mucous membranes)
  • Yellowish discoloration of the gums and other bodily tissues (known as jaundice or icterus)
  • Enlargement of the liver and spleen (hepatosplenomegaly)


The primary cause of this infection is the ingestion of the Histoplasma capsulatum fungus. 31 Invasive and Infectious Bugs Striking Hunters, Hunting Dogs

The fungus may be inhaled when contaminated soil is disturbed, such as what happens when dogs scratch or dig in the dirt, or through contact with contaminated bird droppings, including that from poultry, and bat droppings. Read more. 


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