Warning over pigeon droppings after child's death linked to infection carried by bird

A chemical testing firm in Fareham has issued a warning after a deadly infection carried in pigeon droppings was linked to the death of a child.

Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 2:49 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:38 pm
People are being warned that pigeon droppings could be carrying a fungal infection. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The child was being treated at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow when he or she contracted the fungal infection – known as cryptococcus. 

People who work in close proximity to pigeons, such as construction workers, are being warned that they could potentially be at risk of contracting it as it is carried in pigeon droppings. 

There have been a number of reported cases of an airborne infectious fungus found in the bird’s droppings. 

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

People are being warned that pigeon droppings could be carrying a fungal infection. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Fareham environmental chemical testing company, Envirochem, has advised those working close to where pigeons nest to have the areas checked and tested for the fungus.

Stuart White, the company's director, said: ‘We’re frequently asked to survey and test for a variety of hazardous materials including asbestos, lead, arsenic etc in buildings where pigeons congregate and nest.

‘As part of the initial assessment one of the first things to consider is pigeon droppings and how to deal with the dangers and risks.   

‘Many people aren’t aware of the risks that are involved and often come across it by chance.

‘We need to raise awareness of this issue to ensure people are protected from this dangerous fungus.’

Anyone working in and around pigeons should be aware of the risks, Envirochem is warning.

Read More

Read More
Gosport and Havant’s smoking rates are ‘of major concern’ as NHS launches campai...

With construction workers in particular, needing to be made aware of the risks of infection when clearing pigeon droppings from building sites and derelict spaces for renovation.  

The cryptococcus fungus is commonly found in the soil and on windowsills where the birds have been nesting.

It can become a problem to people if it is ingested, either by floor disturbances creating airborne dust or by physical hand to mouth transference.

Environmental cleanups of areas infected can, and have been, executed by Envirochem by using specialist containment zones and cleaning equipment.

Specialist PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is utilised with mobile shower units on site during cleaning for personnel working to rid the area of any contaminants.