Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Most people agree that bird droppings are an eyesore but they would be horrified to find out just how accurate the headline is. Ocular histoplasmosis, a fungal infection that eats away at the eyeball is just one of over sixty diseases that birds can transfer to humans. Their droppings are often the vehicle for transmission as they dry out, turn to dust, become airborne, and are absorbed by the mucus membranes of unknowing victims.

Stories exposing reluctance of city officials to address the issue of bird droppings often focus on the aesthetics of the issue. People note the terrible smell of terrible accumulated waste. Casual observers recognize that the appearance of bird droppings lowers the perceived value of property. Directly after last summer's collapse of the Minnesota Bridge, readers heard about the structural damage that droppings and there acidic nature can cause. Still beyond avian flu and West Nile virus, diseases from birds are often glossed over.  

This leads people to believe that the issue of bird infestations, and the ."subsequent droppings they leave behind, can be safely kept on the backburner.   City officials realize this and feel free to ignore the problem in exchange for other items that garner more publicity. If people realized that droppings are a carrier for potentially fatal illnesses like salmonella, E.coli, respiratory histoplasmosis (which can permanently affect the lungs), Cryptococcosis, or meningitis to name a few, they would have more ammunition when demanding the control of birds and their waste. This is not just a matter of image but of public health. While some of these diseases are unfamiliar and rare, they are a real concern - especially for individuals who work in close proximity to an accumulation of bird feces. Any of the aforementioned diseases leave young children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems, especially vulnerable.  READ MORE