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Histoplasmosis

Description
Respiratory disease caught from breathing in spores spread by the wind

Location
Traditional bird roosts, poultry farms, enclosed buildings where birds or bats have roosted, and natural and organic fertilizers where spores are widespread

Cause
Bird droppings enrich the soil and promote fungus growth

Symptoms
A mild case may go unnoticed A severe case may cause acute respiratory illness with flu-like symptoms or it could result in the dissemination of fungus through the blood stream

Treatment
Seek medical attention from a physician

Prevention
Disperse large numbers of birds if they are living close to humans or livestock and posing a threat. Test an area for Histoplasmosis before beginning work Wear a self-contained breathing apparatus or face mask with a dust filter (less than two microns) Wear protective clothing, boots, gloves and disinfect everything Clear or bulldoze an old bird roost when the weather is wet or cold or dampen the area with water before beginning work Decontaminate an old bird roost with a three–five percent solution of formaldehyde before clearing.

Other Facts
Histoplasmosis fungus grows beneath bird roosts but it can’t form spores because of the acidic conditions in fresh droppings. Spores can be released after droppings have dried out or been leached by the rain or if the soil is stirred up under dusty conditions.



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