Pigeon Guano & Disease – Over 60 Diseases Associated with Birds and Their Mess

It’s said that there may be over 60 diseases that are associated with birds and their mess, many of which can become airborne in dried droppings and, if you are not careful, breathed in. Here are just a few of the known transmissible bird diseases associated with pigeons, geese, starlings and house sparrows, all of which are common in the UK. Below are just five of those diseases which are a real and present danger if proper PPE is not worn during any bird guano clearance job, and why such work is best left to the specialists.

Five Horrible Diseases Spread By Birds

Cave Disease or Histoplasmosis is caused by breathing in the spores of a fungus that thrives on bird droppings.

Also known as ‘Cave Disease’, this is a respiratory infection that comes from a fungus that thrives in dried bird droppings and which can be fatal. Caused by the spores of the fungus which are very lightweight and become easily airborne if droppings are disturbed and can thus be breathed in. Symptoms include chest pains, fever, dry cough or generally feeling ill.



An illness that begins as a lung disease but that can attic the central nervous system. Caused by a yeast found in the intestinal tract of pigeons and starlings. Humans and animals usually get the infection from inhaling dust contaminated with bird faeces.

Candidiasis or thrush is a yeast infection present in the digestive system of birds like pigeons.

Commonly called ‘thrush’, this is a yeast or fungal infection that can be spread by pigeons which affects the skin, mouth, respiratory system, intestines and urogenital tract, especially in woman for who it causes itching, pain and discharge.

St. Louis Encephalitis
This one is spread by mosquitos that have fed on infected house sparrows and pigeons. It causes the nervous system to inflame, causing fever, headaches (through an inflammation of the brain) and drowsiness and can be particularly dangerous to people over 60 years of age where it may cause paralysis, coma or even death. Rare, luckily.

This salmonella bacteria is to be found in the droppings of pigeons, starlings and sparrows. It can contaminate food if the droppings get directly onto it, but more commonly is carried dry through ventilator and air conditioning systems and onto food that way. The most common symptoms are diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, and vomiting. This typically occurs between 12 hours and 72 hours after exposure with symptoms lasting four to seven days.


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