Birds, bird droppings and nesting materials can carry over 60 diseases and ectoparasites transmittable to humans and animals. These pose the most risk to individuals with compromised or weakened immune systems such as the young, elderly and those living with auto immune diseases.
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Here is a breakdown of some of the main diseases carried by birds:
Transmissions are primarily through mosquitoes, bird mites and ticks.
There are more bacterial organisms associated with birds that affect human health than all other disease-causing organisms.
Species most often affected are pigeons and gulls. Humans contract the disease by inhaling bacteria-laden dust.
Bacteria become airborne with feces dust in accumulated air intake vents, primarily at restaurants and food processing plants.
Contact usually occurs through air handling systems, contaminated clothing, and spores becoming airborne. Species most associated are pigeons, blackbirds and starlings.
Disseminated histoplasmosis is the result of the organism spreading throughout the body via the bloodstream. Over 30 million people a year are affected, with 10% exhibiting systems. The young, elderly, hospitalized or persons with immune system deficiencies are most affected.
Similar to histoplasmosis, but ultimately results in meningitis. It is estimated that 50% of the pigeon population in the Western United States is infected.
Ectoparasites are found on the body or in nesting materials.
A common ectoparasite found on birds that carry lyme disease.
Birds and bird nests carry bird mites which can infest buildings with available hosts.
Bed bugs often attach themselves to birds and are transferred to new areas by the birds.