Histoplasmosis

Description
  • Respiratory disease caught from breathing in spores spread by the wind
     
Location
  • Traditional bird roosts
  • Poultry farms
  • Enclosed buildings where birds or bats have roosted
  • Natural and organic fertilizers where spores are widespread
     
Cause
  • Bird droppings enrich the soil and promote fungus growth
     
Symptoms
  • A mild case may go unnoticed
  • A severe case may cause acute respiratory illness with flu-like symptoms or it could result in the dissemination of fungus through the blood stream
     
Treatment
  • Seek medical attention from a physician
Prevention
  • Disperse large numbers of birds if they are living close to humans or livestock and posing a threat. 
  • Test an area for Histoplasmosis before beginning work
  • Wear a self-contained breathing apparatus or face mask with a dust filter (fewer than two microns). 
  • Wear protective clothing, boots, gloves and disinfect everything. 
  • Clear or bulldoze an old bird roost when the weather is wet or cold or dampen the area with water before beginning work. 
  • Decontaminate an old bird roost with a 3–5% solution of formaldehyde before clearing.
     
Other Facts
  • Histoplasmosis fungus grows beneath bird roosts but it can’t form spores because of the acidic conditions in fresh droppings.
  • Spores can be released after droppings have dried out or been leached by the rain or if the soil is stirred up under dusty conditions.