You may have seen the deaths of two (possibly a third, to be confirmed) patients of Queen Elizabeth University Hospital over the weekend. The patients sadly contracted Cryptococcosis, a fungal infection spread from pathogens present in pigeon droppings. It’s believed pigeons were entering a machine room within the hospital which has enabled the disease to spread through the hospitals ventilation system.
Whilst this is a rarity in the UK the case highlights some of the true dangers of an uncontrolled bird problem.
How Pigeons make human ill ….
Pigeons carry over 60 pathogens that can spread disease. Not all of these can be transmitted to humans. Some pathogens that can be transmitted to humans include:
Avian Influenza: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/avian-in-humans.htm
These pathogens are transmitted from droppings, feathers and nests. Whilst we know to avoid touching these is not necessarily that simple. These pathogens can be transmitted by:
- Inhalation – Dried dropping become powdery and once disturbed pathogens transmitted into the sire we breathe
- Consumption - food and drink can be contaminated by birds entering food production / prep areas / water sorces
- Insect bites – Biting insects can become infected with a disease from biting a bird. Accumulating a bite from an infected insect can lead to infection.
Identifying Pigeon Problems
.Common signs of Pigeon infestation include:
- Birds settling: on or around the premises, cables, wires, roofs, ledges
- Droppings: on the building, inside the building, on goods, on vehicles, on pathways
- Nests: on roofs, ledges, gutters, roof spaces and internal beams
- Nest and Feather debris: around the premises, in gutters, damage from blocked gutters I.e damp walls and ceiling from water ingress
- Stock damage: pecking and dropping
Controlling Pigeon Problems
- Environmental Management
The main attraction to any site is availability of food. This makes it difficult to control in many public areas especially where the general public discard food in open spaces.
Food build up can be minimised by
- Banning feeding of birds in public areas
- Providing and regularly clearing bins and food spillages in public areas
- Keeping bins shut where possible
Installing physical measures to buildings that prevent birds roosting. This could be :
- General building maintenance: blocking access points eg damaged roof installing strips to loading bays.
- Spikes or wire : placed on narrow ledges, sills, beams or narrow flat areas so birds cannot settle
- Avishock: placed like spikes or wire but emits a small unharmful electric shock to prevent bird settling on the area.
- Netting: covers larger areas horizontally or vertically to prevent access to various roost points.
3. Population control
The final method to be considered after all other methods have been exhausted are population controls. These must adhere to guidelines in general licences and only apply to the species stipulated.
- Humane Trapping : Birds are trapped and humanely dispatched. Traps checked daily and adequate food and water provided so birds aren’t distressed.
Need help with pigeon control now?
CALL 0800 028 7111 TODAY to arrange a free site consultation.