Alcippe (alcippe) wrote,

Bird diseases

As someone who suddenly has a pigeon living under the same roof, I've begun to do some research on this particular type of bird. I've found out some interesting things.

Most surprisingly, I learned that humans can't easily catch diseases from pigeons – it's a myth. Pigeons have a body temperature of 107 degrees Fahrenheit, and any disease that they might be carrying wouldn't be able to survive in our cool human bodies. It's their poo that can be dangerous if it drys and a particularly nasty fungus grows in it:

"The most widespread misconception about urban pigeons is that they
are carriers of disease. Pest-control companies charge them with
transmitting any number of diseases, but the truth is that the vast
majority of people are at little to no health risk from pigeons. A
search of epidemiological studies over more than 60 years found so few
cases of diseases transmitted from feral pigeons to humans that the
researchers concluded, “Although feral pigeons pose sporadic health
risks to humans, the risk is very low, even for humans involved in
occupations that bring them into close contact with nesting sites.”(5) 

Histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, and psittacosis are diseases that can
be transmitted to humans from contact with bird feces, but even the New
York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says that the risk is
“small”; people who have compromised immune systems have the greatest
risk.(6) Psittacosis is usually associated with parrots in captivity.(7)"

This was a big relief for me. I've always been good with keeping cages clean, but lately I've been all about the face mask and latex gloves, treating my injured pigeon and anything it has touched like highly toxic radioactive material. It's good to know there probably isn't much of a disease threat after all.

Does anyone here have experiences dealing with diseases or other things (fleas, etc) passed between birds and humans?

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