Diseases and Parasites Spread by Birds, Part 1

While a primary reason many home and property owners want many bird types kept away from their property and structures based on damage and dropping risks, these are not the only reasons for bird barriers and other bird control solutions. Another major reason many have this desire: To prevent the risk of parasites, contamination and other forms of disease that may be spread from birds to humans.

At A-1 Exterminators, we’re proud to offer a wide variety of bird control solutions, including Bird Barrier products we’re licensed to carry and distribute. Whether you want bird prevention methods based on property damage risks, disease avoidance or some combination therein, we’ll work with you to determine your needs and provide the optimal bird control solutions to meet them. In this two-part blog series, we’ll go over the basics on how birds can spread disease to humans, plus the kinds of diseases we help you avoid through our services.

diseases parasites spread birds

Zoonotic Disease Basics and Bird Considerations

There’s a term for these sorts of conditions that can pass from animals to humans: Zoonotic diseases, or zoonoses in some circles. Birds are not the only animals that can pass on zoonotic disease to humans – others include rodents and various other pest types you might find.

Within birds, however, there are a wide variety of possible zoonotic diseases possible. They can be passed from a huge range of bird types, spanning from common property birds like pigeons and sparrows to other types like chickens, turkeys, ducks, parakeets, crows and more. These conditions do not always make the birds themselves ill, but can cause serious issues to humans. There are especially high risks here for people who have compromised immune systems or other health issues, as birds and their droppings can contain over 60 different transmissible diseases.

Our next several sections will look at some of the most common or notable such diseases to be aware of.

Avian Tuberculosis

Avian tuberculosis, which is caused by mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), is found all over the world in the soil and droppings of infected birds. It’s generally passed to humans through inhalation of the agent in dried droppings or contaminated soil

Pigeons are some of the most common birds to pass this condition. In humans, it will often manifest itself as chronic meningitis, and is especially risky to those with immunodeficiency of any kind.

Ornithosis

Also known as psittacosis or “parrot fever” in some circles, this condition is caused by a parasite found in parrots but also many other birds like ducks, pigeons and turkeys. Transmission, like tuberculosis, is usually through dried droppings, but can also take place due to inhalation of secretions or feather dust. In humans, this condition tends to cause flu-like symptoms and respiratory disease.

For more on the kinds of diseases you avoid by controlling birds on your property, or to learn about any of our pest control or exterminator services, contact the staff at A-1 Exterminators today.