Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries University (KVAFSU) veterinary microbiologists studying the transmission of pathogenic microorganisms from pigeon faeces have conducted public awareness campaigns to educate people about the harmful effects of pigeon poop on human health.
Dr. KM Chandrashekar, an assistant professor of Veterinary Microbiology at the Veterinary College (Hassan), who is leading the awareness campaign says pigeons carry parasites, ticks, and fleas in their droppings, potentially spreading diseases. Wild birds usually carry more diseases than pet birds because pet birds’ immune systems are better at fighting off pathogens. People who come into contact with pigeon droppings or breathe in dust from dried droppings can get sick from various diseases.
What exactly is pigeon poop?
Pigeon droppings resemble small marbles and are white-brownish in colour. If the droppings are loose and wet, it may indicate that the bird is stressed or ill.
Pigeons, for example, excrete nitrogenous waste in the form of uric acid rather than urea and ammonia because they are uricotelic. Because birds lack a urinary bladder, uric acid is excreted with their faeces. Pigeon droppings have also been linked to the growth of fungi. Ammonia causes respiratory problems as well as irritation.
More than 60 different diseases have been linked to pigeon droppings, according to research. In addition to causing bird flu, it can cause fungal diseases such as Histoplasmosis, Cryptococcosis, and Candidiasis, as well as bacterial diseases such as Psittacosis and Avian tuberculosis.
When inhaled, they affect the liver and spleen. High fever, pneumonia, blood abnormalities, and influenza are some visible symptoms.
How to avoid?
It is best to use disposable gloves, shoe covers, and masks with filters that can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns when cleaning pigeon droppings. It is also advised to slightly moisten the droppings with water to prevent spores from becoming airborne. After cleaning, the droppings should be stored in sealed bags and the exterior of the bags should be washed before disposal in designated areas.