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The information and the stories below are accurate. I have removed the names of the victims for privacy reasons.

Oh my gosh! Are you telling me I must worry about pigeon poop? Look — we’ll all die of something sometime, but this is beyond the pale. I can’t bother dodging bird spatter while walking along the sidewalk.

Nope, that’s different from what I’m talking about. I’m talking about larger nesting areas. Places where you have twenty, thirty, or fifty pigeons. I notice a large flock of pigeons flying around the parking garage whenever I visit this building. Most nest on the south side, but others are on the west.

But they’re not hurting anything. No one says anything about it unless they have to park their car near those areas, and they need to wash their car now and then.

Listen, with pigeons, the amount of pigeon dung grows when there is a large group of birds. It doesn’t take so long before enough dung grows that it grows a fungus or mold for another name, called Histoplasma. As it grows, it is constantly being disturbed by the pigeons flying in and out of the nesting area, and they routinely walk back and forth over their nest areas. This causes the mold spores to break loose and become airborne. These mold spores float in the air and eventually land on any surface. The more significant amount of dung causes greater amounts of fungus floating in the air. Everyone using the garage will breathe in the mold spores. Most of the time, nothing comes of it. But that doesn’t negate the real danger.

If someone routinely exposes you to the spores, you have a greater chance of becoming infected, and that’s called Histoplasmosis. The spores usually enter the pulmonary system and grow in the lungs.

If this happens, then there is even greater danger lurking.

What’s that?

The disease will first present to its victim as a chest cold, with the usual fever, cough, chills, fatigue, body aches, and chest pain. When patients see the Doctor, they are unaware of any reason to suspect a fungal infection, so the Doctor will treat them for the flu or bronchitis. I the person has waited to go to the Doctor, they may have a mild case of pneumonia, and the physician will treat them accordingly.

Why doesn’t the Doc see the infection on the chest X-ray?

At this stage, they can’t see it. All they see is the fluid building up in the lungs. The danger increases because the Doctor’s treatment won’t work against the growing fungal infection.

Well, what should the Doctor do to diagnose the problem?

The simplest way to diagnose is through a urine, blood, or sputum test and sending it to a laboratory to be cultured. This will give the best diagnosis, but it can take up to six weeks to receive the results. If the Doctor isn’t taking preventative measures by this time, the fungus will continue to grow. Even treatment for pneumonia will not reverse the fungal infection, and I’ve had friends die from misdiagnosis.

Seriously? Have you known people to die from mold?

Yes, one of my friends brought a parrot and a cockatoo into his home; he took them in from a friend who was moving and couldn’t care for the birds. My friend didn’t take care of the aviary as he should have, and the fungus grew; the birds disturbed the fungus and floated throughout the home through the central HVAC system. Just purely by chance, my friend was the only one in his family to end up with Histoplasmosis and died in two and a half years. He was 61 years old when he passed away.

Another friend was from an office sharing situation. He lived the longest with the disease. This renowned forensic anthropologist was working in a Mexico City garbage dump. His task was to find the remains of a local politician. Unfortunately, he realized he had left his respirator in the truck one morning. In a crucial moment, he went without his respirator until lunch break, then retrieved it for use the rest of the day.

According to my friend, that one decision would cost him his life and several years of misery living with the disease.

But the story of Histoplasma continues. There is such a thing as Ocular Histoplasmosis, and a relative of mine attending college got up one morning and had no balance. She could hardly walk. They discovered she had ocular Histoplasmosis. According to her Doctor, she likely felt something in her eye while walking around the college campus. Like anyone, our response is to rub our eye, which usually flushes out the minute spec. But this time, it forced the spore behind the eye orbit. It grew to a size that pushed against the retina of her eye, thus giving her distorted vision and interrupting her balance.

Okay, go on, what happened to her?

She was lucky; they used a cold laser that could shoot through her eye. If this had happened three years earlier, they would have had to remove her eye surgically and treat it with chemicals, then place a blind eye back into the socket. They only had this treatment available for a short while and stated it worked eight seven percent of the time. My relative was fortunate that it worked, and she’s fine now.

Yet another case where the wife of a student of mine had Ocular Histoplasmosis, which caused scarring in her left eye. She could barely see out of that eye, but the retina had tiny holes, making it look like Swiss cheese.

I did not know that bird poop could do that.

Remember, it isn’t the tiny, scattered spats of poop but a buildup in their nesting area. It’s the same for pigeons, chickens, and even bat guano.

Bats too?

Yep, bats as well.


If you’re reading this story and know of an area where pigeons gather, or bats reside, please pass on our information.
Crime Scene Cleaners, LLC remediates those biohazards from the living and work areas, returning them to a safe environment. I state our contact information below.

(913) 808-7642(816) 808-7642(800) 909-2939