COMMON BIRD-TRANSMITTED DISEASES

Bacterial Diseases
Erysipeloid-Pigeons
(Erysipelas, Erysipelas, Erysipelotrix, Sr. Anthony's Disease, St. Anthony's fire, Diamond skin disease)

Affects: Humans

When affecting humans, it usually appears as an eruption of the skin, being slightly swollen, bright red or dark violet colored to almost black and blue. It generally starts in a wound or small break in the skin, and is accompanied with a sensation of burning, throbbing pain and intense itching. The infection often starts on the face, but may affect any part of the body. There may headaches, chills, pain in the joints and prostration, fever and vomiting. It is sometimes fatal, especially to young children or old or infirm people.

  Pasteurellosis or Fowl Cholera: Pigeons
Affects: Humans

Fowl typhoid is caused y Salmonella Gallinarum. Pigeons are subject to the disease and help disseminate it through their feces.

Wednesday, April26, 2000 Listeriosis: (Circling disease)
Affects: Humans

It is a gram positive bacterial disease caused by wisteria monacytogenes. The disease causes changes in the cells of the nervous system. Humans occasionally have an inflammation of the inner eyelid (conjunctivitis), endocarditis and skin infections. It can also cause meningitis in newborns, abortions, premature delivery, stillbirth and death within a few days.

Pasteurellosis: (Shipping Fever)
Affects: Humans

The acute infectious disease is caused by a highly contagious gram-negative bacteria Pasturella multocida. The bacteria are usually considered as a secondary invader, which may strike suddenly. The disease in humans may be divided into 4 groups of Syndremas: (1) Infection of the upper respiratory tract as a nasal discharge, of inflammation of the inner surface of the eyelid (conjunctivitis); (2) Infection of the lower respiratory tract as bronchitis, or pneumonia; (3) Infection of the internal organs as appendicitis or inflammation of the urinary bladder; (4) Abscessed wound infections caused by bytes of sctcher from cats or dogs. Pigeons are subject to the disease and can spread it through their droppings or nasal discharges. The organism can live as long as a month in pigeon dropping or 3 months in a dead pigeon.

Salmonellosis: Food poisoning, gastroenteritis, paratyphoid, typhoid
Affects: Humans

Salmonellosis is more than just food poisoning. Pigeons are important factors in the spread of salmonellosis, since the bacteria are left wherever the pigeons defecate. Pigeons trample back and for the through their copious excretions on ledges and air intake vents. The dust enters through air conditioners and ventilators. S. Typhimurium var. Copenhagen is the most common salmonella isolated from pigeons. Salmonellosis affects humans and all domestic animals. Salmonellosis in humans may manifest itself in one or more of four types (1) temporary carriage without infection (2) Gastroenteritis (food poisoning) (3) enteric fever septicemia (blood poisoning) (4) Persistent infection

Mycotic or Fungal Diseases
Blastomycosis: Glichrists Disease
Affects: Humans

Blastomycosis is a chronic, systemic fungal disease that affects humans. The disease affects the lungs. It is caused by Blastomyces Dermatitidis. The main route of infection is by inhalation of spores. The disease is infectious but is not contagious. Humans and animals are terminal hosts for the organism.
Major symptoms in humans include loss of weight, fever, cough, and bloody sputum and chest pains. The infection often starts on the face or neck with thickly crusted purple ulcers. The disease may disseminate into the skin, bones, or urogenital tract. One epidemic of human blast mycosis involved seven people under sixteen within a 4-mile area.

  Cryptococcosis: (European blast mycosis, Torula, Torulosis, Yeast Meningitis)
Affects: Humans

The disease is caused by a systemic pathogenic yeast called Cryptococcus Neoformans, which is found worldwide. Cryptococcosis in humans usually begins as a primary infection of the lungs. There are no visible early symptoms may include cough, chest pain, weight loss, fever or dizziness. The disease may be in the lungs, mucous membranes, bones, and joints, with no organ or tissue of the body exempt.
It very frequently involves the brain covering as cryptococcal meningitis. The central nervous system involvement usually follows the pulmonary disease. Pigeon excreta is the most common source of C. Neoformans. The yeast is carried in the intestinal tract of pigeons. Pulmonary cryptococcsis has occurred in the workmen who have been exposed to the yeast while demolishing old buildings where pigeons had roosted. Most of the cryptococcal infections occur from inhalation of the fungas along with the dust from areas enriched with pigeons manure. The entrance may also be through the gastrointestinal tract.

Histoplasmosis
Affects: Humans

It is an important systemic fungal disease caused by Histoplasma Capsulatum. It is interesting to note that the disease was suggested for consideration as a biological warfare agent at one time because of its air borne route. Histoplasmosis is an environmental disease acquired from the dust. The organism is an air pollutant.
H. Capsulatum is a tiny soil organism that id dispersed into the air when the soil is disturbed. It is predominately found in the soils enriched by feces. There are 2 phases. A mycelia phase grows in the soil and bears spores, which are dispersed into the air when the soil is disturbed. The yeast phase grows within the body to produce disease. It usually begins 11 to 14 days after heavy exposure.
Histosplasmosis is probably the second most significant fungus disease. It is infectious but not contagious. The "summer flu" that Midwesterners use to get often is now thought to have been histosplasmosis. Histoplasmosis basically is a pulmonary or respiratory disease, but may extend to the liver, lymph nodes, and spleen; it may disseminate to the blood and bone marrow and be fatal. The victim frequently has chills and fever to 105 degrees, night sweats, chest pains, and fatigued. A non-productive cough is fairly common.
The organism may lodge in the eye to cause ocular histoplasmosis. It may affect either eyes, or only one eye. In some cases it affects the peripheral vision. In other cases the victim loses the center vision or functional eyesight of one eye. For many years pulmonary histosplasmosis was diagnosed as tuberculosis because of its TB like characteristics. The calcified tubercles of histo and TB look just alike on an X-ray. One report indicated that as many as 6% of the patients in TB sanitariums may be victims of H. Capsulatum rather that Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
The pigeon's feces fertilize the soil in such a way as to give the fungus competitive advantage over soil microorganisms. The fungus does not grow in fresh droppings. It is, however, detectable in starling roosts generally after they have been established at least 3 years. The histo spores need warmth and moisture to flourish.
H. Capsulatum actively grows and multiplies in soil as a saprophyte and does not merely reside there in a passive state. Even long departed flocks may massively infect human beings intent on picking up the mess they have left behind.

Protozal Diseases
American Trypanosomiasis and pigeons: (Chargas Disease)
Affects: Humans

This disease organism may be found in humans. It results from an infection caused by the protozoan Trypanosomas cruzi. It is sometimes referred to as Chargas Disease. Most of the people infected by this disease will die early of heart disease. The disease is transmitted through the feces of infected triatomine bugs such as the conenose or pigeon kissing bug (Triatoma rubrofasciata).
The bugs tend to feed at night while the victim is asleep, so the individual is usually not aware of what has happened. The bug defecates during or soon after engorement. The infective states of the parasite are able to enter the wound. Itching from the bite may occur, and then as the victim scratches, he may disseminate the parasite to regions of the mucous membranes of the eyes or mucous membranes following a bite.
The response to the disease infection can vary from swelling of the face, eye, or other parts of the body at the site of invasion, to a fatal outcome. Death may occur in 2 to 4 weeks. The disease is of great importance to humans, especially young children. It has been found near Bryan and Corpus Christi, Texas. Pigeon kissing bugs have been found on pigeons.

Toxoplasmosis
Affects: Humans

Toxoplasmosis may be one of the most widespread zoonotic diseases in the United States. It is common in humans. It is a parasitic infection caused by an intracellular protozoa Toxoplasma godii antibody.
Toxopasmosis is extremely common in humans, but most infections are not apparent. Toxoplasmosis has been shown to cause abortions in women. The organism seems to have infinity for brain tissue. The disease may cause many problems, including mental retardation and death. The disease may be present at birth it is considered congenital and transmitted through the placenta from infected mothers to their unborn offspring. The parasite can be transferred to humans who eat or handle raw meat. The disease may result in abortion, stillbirth or prematurity.
The infant may go on to develop problems months or years later. These may include inflammation of the retina, strabismus (deviation of the eyes, which the patient cannot overcome), and blindness, hydrocephalous (accumulation of fluid in the brain cavity), abnormal smallness of the head, cerebral calcifications, mental retardation, epilepsy and deafness. The acquired (non-congenital) form may affect the central nervous system and exhibit symptoms ranging from headaches, slight fever, drowsiness, disorientation and fatigue to encephalitis and fatal pneumonia. A serious outbreak occurred in Atlanta, Georgia, in October 1977, among 29 people who were patrons of a riding stable. The disease may also involve an ophthalmic form which may be congenital or acquired, with some of the implications previously listed under congenital. The disease was first discovered in humans in 1923 when an ophthalmologist, found parasitic cysts in the retina of a young child.
Pigeons frequently transmit toxopasmosis through fecal contamination, respiratory droplets, eye secretions, contact with infected tissue or through ectoparasites.

Rickettsial & Chlamydial Diseases
Clamydiosis: Parrot fever, Ornithosis, Psittacosis, Bedsonia Infection.
Affects: Humans

Clamydiosis is one of the well known avian associated diseases that affects humans. The disease is caused by Chlamdia psittaci.
Human infections are often mild, even symptomatic, but may be severe enough to cause death. Mortality is usually restricted to the old, the weak, or those with concurrent diseases. Virulent strains may cause death rates up to 20%. Two hospital nurses died after taking care of a man who had the disease. Incubation time following exposure may range from 4 to 15 days but is commonly 10 days. This disease is a major occupational disease of USDA bird quarantine station personnel in Miami, Florida.
Pigeons are often chronically infected with chlamydial organisms, though the infection does not progress to clinical disease. Pigeons have infected humans with Clamydiosis on many occasions. It is becoming very evident in recent years that pigeons may provide an even greater reservoir than psittacine birds.

Viral Diseases
Encephalitis
Affects: Humans

Encephalitis is an inflammation of the brain. It is a general name for a series of primary viral disease causing damage to the central nervous system, including the brain and other nerve tissues. It usually causes drowsiness, and a slowing down of both mental and physical facilities.
The three principal birds related arthropod-borne viruses that cause encephalitis includes Eastern equine encephalomyelitis (EEE), Western equine encephalomyelitis (WEE), and St. Louis encephalitis (SLE). Pigeons are amplifying host in the bird-related viruses.
Pigeons are considered a reservoir and amplifying host for the virus. It was isolated from the brain of pigeons during the Massachusetts epidemic of 1938, which involved both people and horses. It was also isolated from pigeons in a field study conducted at Hockamock Swamp, Massachusetts.

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