pigeon-disease

A Brief Look into the Diseases That Pigeons Carry

Pigeons are among the birds that people love to keep, feed and entertain. While to some people they may be the only connection there is between them and the animal kingdom, pigeons surprisingly carry transmissible diseases. What worsens the situation further is that these little birds have few predators meaning like humans, they will continue multiplying and increasing in number. Controlling a pigeon population is advised.

The primary means through which the diseases are spread is through the pigeons droppings. These droppings carry the infection vector which can either be a bacteria or virus. When they dry, the droppings become powder-like and float in the air like dust when kicked by passing feet. This dust is eventually inhaled and there it goes: Pigeon disease. Below are some of the diseases that are carried by pigeons:

E.Coli

In addition to the E.Coli infections resulting from undercooked meat, spending time feeding and entertaining pigeons without a thorough hand washing can make you a victim too. Accidental contact with pigeon droppings is one of the common ways of contracting this infection.

Viral Encephalitis

Pigeons play host to the infamous West Nile Virus, St. Louis Encephalitis and Western Equine Encephalomyelitis. These diseases can potentially damage the nervous system; cause severe illnesses or even death. The most affected in these diseases are the elderly and children. The responsible transmission vector is a mosquito which after biting an infected bird bites a human being. In the process of biting, the mosquito backwashes the infected blood into the human system causing the disease.

Salmonella and Listeria

Many people classify Salmonella and Listeria as causative agents for food-borne diseases. Well, that is true but it is also a fact that pigeons carry their fair share of these types of bacteria. Listeria is particularly dangerous when it comes to pregnant women and the newborns. It can cause abortions, stillbirths, meningitis in newborns, premature deliveries and even death in some circumstances.

Cryptococcal Meningitis

Pigeon-borne meningitis is virulent and an extremely dangerous type of infection. It starts with a slight migraine which becomes terrible with time eventually resulting into a coma. The patient may wake up blind in extreme cases and mostly its end result is death especially to those who are not strong enough to battle its effects with medication and a strong body immune system.

What all this means is that we need to be extremely careful when interacting with pigeons. The joy and laughter as we play around with them can easily turn into grief and sorrow as we suffer the consequences of their infections.

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