Pigeons are very common animals in any city, but they can be a danger to human health, as they can transmit several diseases, known as zoonoses, such as cryptococcosis or salmonellosis, for example.
However, the transmission of this type of diseases happens mainly through the poop and, therefore, although it is not necessary to eliminate the pigeons, care must be taken to avoid direct contact with the feces. In addition, it is important for cities to properly clean the feces, since when they dry, they can turn to dust and end up being inhaled by people and the infectious agent responsible for the disease can be fixed to the lungs, causing complications.
The main diseases transmitted by pigeons are:
Cryptococcosis is one of the main diseases transmitted by urban pigeons and is caused by a fungus that lives and grows in the feces, the Cryptococcus neoformans. When spores of this fungus are inhaled, there is initial involvement of the lung and as the fungus develops, it can spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream, reaching the nervous system and resulting in meningitis, which is a serious complication of the disease. cryptococcosis.
O Cryptococcus neoformans it is considered an opportunistic fungus, that is, the development of the disease happens when the immune system is compromised, mainly because of the infection by the HIV virus. Thus, depending on the person’s immune system, the disease may or may not develop and the severity of symptoms may vary.
main symptoms: Symptoms of cryptococcosis vary according to the degree of compromise of the person’s immune system, however the most common are feeling short of breath, constant sneezing, runny nose, weakness and pain throughout the body. Know how to recognize the symptoms of cryptococcosis.
What to do: It is recommended that the person goes to the emergency room to have the diagnosis confirmed, since the symptoms are similar to many other diseases, including the flu, and, thus, the treatment is started, which is done with the use of antifungals such as Amphotericin B or Fluconazole for 6 to 10 weeks according to medical advice.
Although salmonellosis is more common after eating poorly washed or poorly prepared food, transmission of the bacteria salmonella it can also occur due to pigeon poop. This is because when faeces dry and turn to dust, they can be transported by the wind and become trapped in fruits and vegetables that, if not washed well, can contaminate people.
main symptoms: Symptoms of salmonellosis are usually gastrointestinal, and there may be nausea and vomiting for more than 24 hours, severe diarrhea, low-grade fever and constant stomach pain.
What to do: Most of the time the symptoms improve after 3 days, being only recommended to rest at home, have light meals and drink plenty of water. However, if symptoms do not improve, a doctor should be consulted for antibiotic treatment and administration of saline directly from the vein to prevent dehydration.
3. Viral encephalitis
Pigeons are one of the most important reservoirs for viruses such as West Nile virus or St. Louis encephalitis. These diseases can infect the nervous system and cause different symptoms, including loss of consciousness and risk of death. This type of encephalitis is transmitted by mosquitoes, which after biting pigeons, can bite humans and pass the virus.
main symptoms: Symptoms vary depending on the virus and severity, however common symptoms are severe headache, high fever and seizures, for example.
What to do: It is recommended to go immediately to the emergency room to make the diagnosis and start the appropriate treatment, which usually includes the use of antipyretics such as Paracetamol and anticonvulsants such as Carbamazepine. Learn more about encephalitis and its treatment.
4. Infection by Escherichia coli
THE Escherichia colialso called E. coli, is a bacterium that lives in the intestines of humans, but is also present in large quantities in pigeon feces. To avoid this type of infection, it is important to wash your hands after being in an environment with pigeons, such as parks, for example.
main symptoms: So, like salmonellosis, symptoms of infection by E. coli are intestinal, and there may be abdominal pain, excessive tiredness, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Learn how to identify the signs of E. coli infection.
What to do: In many cases the infection by Escherichia coli can be treated at home with rest, water intake and light food. However, if symptoms are very severe, if they get worse, or if they appear in children or the elderly, it is important to go to the emergency room to start using medicines that improve symptoms while the body fights the infection.
Always consult a doctor.
Verified by RJ985 – Brazilian natural medicine CMIO.org