Diseases Pigeons Can Carry

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There are quite a few diseases that can be transmitted by pigeons, and while they may not quite live up to the nickname of 'flying rats' which many people will use to describe them, they certainly can be a cause of disease in areas where they are present. From simply being in areas where the birds are present to dealing with infestations and pigeon droppings, these activities can all expose you to some of these diseases. Here are a few of the most common conditions carried by pigeons.

  • 1. E-Coli

  • A bacteria which is best known for being a form of food poisoning, this can range in severity with symptoms varying from fairly mild diarrhea through to urinary tract infections, gastroenteritis and even septicemia. Although it is rare, in a small number of cases where there is a weakened immune system, this disease can even be fatal.

  • 2. Viral Encephalitis

  • This disease is one that is particularly dangerous to children and elderly people where there immune systems are weakened, and in these cases it can lead to death. The method of transmission is usually where there are fluids exchanged, so will involve being pecked by the animal, which will usually have to break the skin.

  • 3. Salmonella

  • Another disease which is also found in other bird strains, and where eggs have been a method of transmission, and the strains can vary from those that cause serious conditions with life threatening implications, although the majority of cases will be fairly mild, with diarrhea and vomiting among the common symptoms in adults.

  • 4. Cryptococcal Meningitis

  • This type of meningitis is one that is quite rare, and is transmitted through inhalation of spores from the feces of pigeons. Milder symptoms include headaches, confusion and fatigue, although in serious cases can lead to infection around the brain and affected lung function, which can also be fatal in some cases.

  • 5. Histoplasmosis

  • This is a disease that is transmitted by feces, and will have a particular impact on those with a suppressed immunity such as HIV patients, with symptoms beginning with flu like symptoms. Anti-fungal medications can be used if caught in time, but without treatment it can affect lung function and leads to a small number of deaths every year.

  • 6. Psittacosis

  • Also known as 'Parrot Fever', this disease starts with diarrhea, fevers and nose bleeds, but goes on to display symptoms similar to pneumonia. It can also lead to joint and organ inflammation within the body, although most patients are successfully treated with antibiotics, with less than one per cent of cases leading to a fatality.

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