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September 2018

Everything you didn't know you needed to know about birds and hygiene

Written by Bakang Kganyago
Cleanliness and Hygiene

I personally never thought of birds as nuisance before, being a former bird owner and all... Now that I’ve found myself living on the third floor of my apartment building I’ve found myself ducking and diving whenever I leave the house with the fear of getting drenched in bird droppings. Their presence has increased over some time turning into an infestation, this resulted in bird droppings and feathers everywhere thus developing a great concern for the impact it may have for my family’s hygiene.

Working in the hygiene industry I have learned that droppings do more damage than merely annoying you whenever you see your freshly washed car besmirched by birds. They are considered pests to businesses and residence as their droppings, feathers and nest are known to spread a number of harmful diseases, such as Psittacosis, Salmonellosis, West Nile Virus, Histoplasmosis and Avian Influenza. This is due to the fact that their droppings contain many types of bacteria, viruses and parasites which may contaminate food, surfaces and goods.

Ticks, fleas and other insects and parasites are known to be carried by birds and can infest buildings where birds are roosting, this poses another health risk to your family or staff.

birds and hygiene

Fouling is another nuisance that comes with an infestations, this is when droppings build up on roosting sites which is a health hazard to anyone exposed. The build up may cause a slip and fall risk to individuals who are exposed to such. Additionally, larger birds such as pigeons can dislodge roof tiles, and their droppings can even corrode stone, metal, paintwork and other building materials - With that much damage potential imaging what they can do to your health.

How can you catch a bird disease?

how birds spread diseases

There are different ways in which you can catch a disease from the pest. The first being through inhalation. When dried up bird droppings get disturbed diseases living within the faeces become airborne and contaminates the air.

The second medium of transmission is through consumption, eating products that are contaminated with the bacteria or viruses that are spread by birds. A similar effect occurs when you drink contaminated water or drinks

The third medium is through touching, dead birds are like sponges, hosting a range of harmful fungi, viruses and bacteria. This is potentially dangerous to children playing outside when there’s a bird infestation.

The last medium of transmission is through insect bites. This happens when biting insects become infected with a diseased obtained from biting a bird. The insect then becomes an vector carrying the virus which may potentially be transmitted to you

How to prevent bird diseases?

Fortunately there are a couple of prevention technique that can solve the threat to your family or business’ hygiene.

  • Remove nesting sites
  • Keep food sources hidden
  • Clean up debris
  • Get a profession pest control service

It is important to spot the signs of an infestation quickly this will help in mitigating the problem before it exposes your family to the risks that come with it

For more hygiene top tips visit our hygiene insights page or subscribe today to get our articles sent straight to your inbox. 

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Bakang Kganyago

Bakang Kganyago

Bakang is a Digital Marketing Executive for Rentokil Initial. A germaphobe at heart, he's passionate about learning and sharing insights on how to defeat the enemy we cannot see. Join his journey as he writes about the impact of germs in our daily lives.

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