The Dangers of Pigeons

kaylarStarred Page By kaylar, 12th Sep 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Diseases & Infections

The fatal diseases that are carried by pigeons and the likelihood of misdiagnosis

Rats with Wings

Pigeons, those statue perching, feces dropping accoutrement to parks and plazas,
are are carriers of thirty different diseases which effect humans.

The diseases pigeons carry don't just make you sick, they can kill you.

They kill you because the diseases are that serious.
They kill you because unless you know you have been exposed
to pigeons and tell the physician s/he will treat you for the more popular maladies.

The most frightening part of pigeon carried diseases is that they are usually mis-diagnoised.

Hence, you have all the symptoms of flu, and get your shot.
But you don't get better.
You die.
You die because the medication you should have gotten is on the shelf.
It is on the shelf because unless advised, very few, if any practitioners
will even think 'pigeon.'

What pigeons carry

Pigeons carry mycotic, (airborne) diseases.
They carry bacterial, and protozoan diseases.
They carry various worms which live in their feces.
They have fleas which carry disease.

In short, they are living biological warfare vectors.

Some people keep pigeons and 'never got sick'.
They may be carriers of the diseases as well.
They may not know that what has been diagnosed as this or that and treated
was gotten via their pigeons.

Pigeons walk in their own feces.
They walk back and forth then perch on your window sill, or patio furniture.
You touch it. You may be now be infected.


Aspergillosis is probably the most well known air borne disease.
It is caused by a fungi which lives saprophytically in pigeon feces.
You don't have to touch the feces. Breathing it in is enough.

This disease poisons the victim’s blood. It causes death.

Cryptococcosis infects the brain.
It is caused by a yeast carried in the intestinal tract of pigeons and
deposited in their feces. As pigeon coops are full of this yeast, inhalation
is likely.

Histoplasmosis is so powerful, and so difficult to detect it was once
considered as a biological warfare agent. It is a pulmonary disease but
extends to the liver, lymph nodes, and spleen.
The organism may disseminate to the blood and bone marrow and is fatal.

Of all the disease this one is most often mistaken for ‘flu’ and treated as such.
This is why so many people die of it.


Erysipeloid most often starts with a cut.
You don't know where you got the cut.
It hurts.
You have the sensation of burning, throbbing pain, and intense itching.
You treat it with whatever you have at home. It does not get better.

Listeriosis is especially dangerous for pregnant women.
It may cause abortions, premature delivery, stillbirths, and death.

Again, one attributes the results to other causes, not to pigeons.

Pasteurella multicida is spread via pigeon droppings or their nasal discharge. The organism can live a month in pigeon manure or three months in a dead pigeon.

Even dead pigeons carry diseases, so dispose of them as haz mat.

Salmonellosis is more than food poisoning. Gastroenteritis is the
most common manifestation. Pigeons spread salmonellae as the bacteria
are left wherever the pigeons defecate. As pigeons walk back and forth
through their mess, they carry the bacteria on their feet.

Many people, especially children get gastoenteritis and do not connect the
fact that there were pigeons in the sandbox, perching on those bars the
child was touching.

One of the scariest is Yersiniosis. It is a plague-like disease and
indistinguishable from appendicitis.
Many unnecessary appendectomies are performed.
A perfectly healthy appendix is removed, and the patient doesn't get better.

This disease can be transmitted by pigeon feces, their eggs, or their ticks.


Toxoplasmosis is attracted to brain tissue.
It can cause mental retardation and death.
Pigeons frequently transmit toxoplasmosis through fecal contamination, respiratory droplets, eye secretions, contact with infected tissue, or through ectoparasites.

It destroys the brain.

Chlamydiosis is another disease which imitates the flu.
There is a respiratory infection with high fever, severe headache, and
generalized aches and pains.

The disease can be transmitted by infected ticks, ingestion, or by inhalation
of dust contaminated with the organism.


There are parasitic worms which live in Pigeon feces.

Schistosomiasis, one of the most prevalent diseases throughout the
world, is caused by a water-borne trematode and pigeons are responsible.

Called bilharzia, bilharziosis or snail fever, although having a low mortality rate, schistosomiasis often is a chronic illness that can damage internal
organs and, in children, impair growth and cognitive development.

It is the second most socioeconomically devastating parasitic disease after
malaria. Pigeons eat the snails that carry this disease and bring it from one
body of water to another.

The dangers of keeping pigeons

What makes keeping pigeons so dangerous is that all the diseases they carry mimic more 'popular' maladies.

Unless the physician is specifically informed that the patient keeps pigeons,
and directs his or her mind to the dangers thereof, (and many are not
particularly aware of pigeon borne diseases), the wrong treatment is dispensed.
It may only be at autopsy where the actual cause be determined.

If you are keeping or thinking of keeping pigeons, sewer rats and
rattlesnakes are safer.


Aspergillosis, Bacterial, Cryptococcosis, Diseases, Histoplasmosis, Mycotic, Pigeons, Protozoan

Meet the author

author avatar kaylar
I am passionate about history, culture, current events, science and law

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
12th Sep 2010 (#)

My wife and I keep pet pigeons. We only have 2 and they have a large aviary. I think people are more likely to get sick if they do not keep their birds in sanitary conditions and over crowd them, which we never do.
Good info.. and a bit scary.

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author avatar kaylar
12th Sep 2010 (#)

my neighbour died. He never believed it was the pigeons he kept...all over the place. Horrible dirty, nasty sick looking pigeons

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author avatar Retired
12th Sep 2010 (#)

Very useful article

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author avatar kaylar
12th Sep 2010 (#)

thank you, lucia anna

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
15th Sep 2010 (#)

I for sure do not have sickly looking birds and they are well cared for - big space for only 2 birds. For sure if your birds are over crowded and have illness then its a risk.. bird owners, and all pet owners, need to be responsible and realize this is what could happen if they are neglectful.

I revisited this because I wanted to put it on facebook and SU

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author avatar Tmay
25th May 2014 (#)

We live in an apartment where there are quite a lot of doves that perch in the trees. A couple of weeks ago, our apartment manager had the AC unit replaced in our apartment. Soon after, my husband thought he heard a dove in our ceiling. But the past two days, I hear it all the time and I think it is in the AC duct. Since the AC was replaced, my husband has gotten progressively worse in terms of respiratory distress. He also has developed a rash on his chest that will not go away. Could this be caused by all these wild doves that live right outside (and I suspect, in our ductwork) our door?
I know this will sound ignorant to most of you, but my husband's symptoms are nearly identical to the symptoms listed on other websites about this topic.

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author avatar kaylar
15th Sep 2010 (#)

One has to be conscious of the diseases, so if one gets sick one can tell the doctor; "I keep pigeons".

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author avatar Justin Okello
15th Sep 2014 (#)

Yes, one does. Which is why the first questions I ask as a doctor are: Have you been out of the country? Do you have pets? Do you wear a mask when you change your cat's litter box? How do you dispose of your dog's feces? Your "article" is tantamount to saying "If you're afraid of Ebola, avoid Africans"...

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author avatar Brian Henderson
15th Sep 2014 (#)

Spot on.

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author avatar Vince hay
19th Sep 2010 (#)

Have you ever heard so much rubbish in all your life yes town pigeons and wood pigeons might carry disease but racing pigeons and other types like tumblers and rollers are well looked after in lofts cleaned and flown daily dogs and cats carry more diseases LOL

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author avatar kaylar
8th Aug 2011 (#)

Yah. I don't know if you are a pigeon, but to dispute medical facts; that goes beyond the usual stupidity.

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author avatar Justin Okello
15th Sep 2014 (#)

But you dispute the basic fact that you're far more likely to get a disease from another person, or a dog or cat... Do your research, and don't just cut and paste someone else's blog..

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author avatar Michael
23rd Sep 2010 (#)

And where is the medical evidence to back up these claims? If the pigeons are so horrible why are not doves and quail? I have quail and dove in town every day. Dove season just opened and so far nobody has died from eating a "town" dove.. It is Biblically classed in the family of clean birds. Pigeons don't eat trash and garbage as some my think. I work in the pest control industry and have never heard of anyone croaking from a pigeon. A kid down the street shot 49 of them and reported to me that they are dang tasty. Back up your talk with some facts please..

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author avatar kaylar
8th Aug 2011 (#)

You can keep pigeons in your house for my part. Many people die of diseases carried by pigeons, unless their is an autopsy their cause of death with be misattributed

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author avatar Jeff barnfield
25th Sep 2010 (#)

The rats with wings title is extremely unjust,sure street pigeons may deserve such a title,but racing&show pigeons do not.What about seagulls? far worse scavengers than pigeons will ever be..
Keep a clean pigeon loft and you will have have healthy pigeons.Always wash your hands after handling any bird or animal for that matter.The scare mongering could apply to any domesticated animal.
Dogs and cats can cause serious illnesses in humans too!.Leave the poor old pigeon alone!

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author avatar kaylar
8th Aug 2011 (#)

I think I made it pretty clear the pigeons I am talking about.

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author avatar Alexis
24th Jan 2011 (#)

I am a mycologist (fungi specialist) and I can assure you that much of the information written in this article is incorrectly accusing pigeons for being the carriers of fungal and protozoan diseases. This person has no scientific clue where they mycota originate from as they are naturally airborne, for instance, aspergillus can be found in the air of your own kitchen as the spores exist everywhere. Our body inhales them daily and it is easily controlled by the immune system. Pigeon feces on buildings are not the cause of these diseases in humans. Pigeons have been tested and we did not find enough growth on their feces to cause significant symptoms in humans.

As a result, this article is just plain false.

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author avatar kaylar
8th Aug 2011 (#)

I dispute your qualifications and those of your duals. Isn't it amazing that four 'different' users all have the same syntax?
The same grammatical errors, the same defense of pigeons who have been proven, time and again to be the carriers of disease.

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author avatar Svdollface
7th Jan 2013 (#)

HERE'S a different "syntax" for you- u don't know what u r talking about. Zoonotic diseases - those passed from animal to human n back r very rare n treated with antibiotics. Yes pigeons poop everywhere n that is gross but u r more likely to get sick from ur dog or cat than a rarandom pigeon.

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author avatar Mike
23rd Mar 2013 (#)

THANK YOU for setting the record straight based on SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH as oppose to old housewife myths!

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author avatar MICHELLE
17th Sep 2011 (#)

thanks for the informative article, I totally agree this article

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author avatar Heygrape
8th Oct 2011 (#)

My young chihuahua died Monday. I had begged the neighbor to stop getting free bread and feeding the pigeons for 1 1/2 years. Both of my dogs have been taking turns being sick and throwing up everything including water. It finally killed my little young chihuahua on 10/3/11. She got into the pigeon poop in my yard that those filthy birds dropped there, went straight to her pancreus, and KILLED HER! I'm finding a new home for my little Yorkie so my neighbor doesn't kill her off too. She's been sick too. Animal control won't help. Police won't help. Owner of the house won't help. My little blue chihuahua was a $3,000 show dog. Add a $850. vet bill. She was only 7. My heart is breaking I hurt so bad. People, PLEASE! STOP FEEDING THESE FILTHY BEASTS!!

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author avatar Cheryl
28th Nov 2011 (#)

My son rented an apartment and it has drop ceilings. After moving in we found that there are pigeons living in the drop ceiling, the landlord was aware & did nothing. My grandson was dx with slight asthma & has to use a nebulizer twice a day now. No breathing problems till after living in apartment. My son has since moved out but this landlord continues to rent the apt & do nothing about the pigeons.

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author avatar Scary
28th Jan 2012 (#)

This a Scary Site. All Animals carry disease. Even Humans....

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author avatar Larry
28th Sep 2012 (#)

We used to shoot pigeons off our silo on our farm. We bred rottweilers and our female ate some of the dead ones and got a disease that made her abort her pregnancies from then on. Our vet even told us that was probably the cause.

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author avatar kaylar
18th Jun 2013 (#)

One of the tragic facts is that unless one is aware of these diseases they will attribute them to other causes.

As the Duals above, with their blather have attempted to dispute clear facts, one wonders why.

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author avatar Jeanette
28th Jun 2013 (#)

Now I am worried. Tuesday there was a pigeon in the yard at work that was missing tail feathers and had a injuried wing. It could flap the wing but not take flight. We felt bad for it so brought it home. We were going to rehab it then let it go when it grew it's feathers back. We put it in one of the cat carriers to keep our cats from killing it. It slept all evening and all night. My husband decided to take it to a park with other pigeons where it would be free and not caged up. Tonight before going to bed he started complaining about having a bad headache. He took a shower, laid down, now he said his throat feels sore. Should he go to the ER??

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author avatar Michaela
3rd Dec 2013 (#)

ER? Seriously...
First, pigeon slept all day and all night. That means that it is not OK and you should not release it. Take it to the vet.
Second, pigeons are not a danger to human health.
I've cared for 20 injured or sick pigeons and I am still alive. You should read this:

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author avatar Michelle
2nd Sep 2013 (#)

I am really worried that my cat has got sick as a direct result of a relatively new flock of pigeons using my garden. He had a big infection but vets not sure what, this was two weeks ago & he's still bad. Does anyone know if it could be them ?

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author avatar Mahmood
6th Sep 2013 (#)

Thanks good information. What about Cats + Dogs they carry diseases aswel?

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author avatar Justin Okello
25th Aug 2014 (#)

According to the World Health Organization, you are 700 TIMES more likely to contract an illness from your pet dog or cat than from contact with a feral pigeon. They're mammals like us, so most diseases DO transfer.
The most common diseases you can get from "Barky" and "Miss Fluffy" are:
Hookworms and roundworms (Ancylostoma and Ascaris ) are common nematodes of dogs and cats. When a human accidentally eats something contaminated with worm eggs from a pet’s stool, the eggs hatch in the intestines and begin migrating throughout that person’s body. Worm larva can also burrow through intact skin. Because these parasites were designed to live in dogs and cats, they become lost in the human body – often in the liver or eyes. When this occurs, the disease is called visceral larval migrans. This disease occurs most often in children due to their poor hygienic practices. In the eye the larval nematodes cause inflammation and blindness. In the liver they can cause chills, fever, malaise and an elevated white blood cell count.

The eggs of the roundworm of raccoons, Balisascaris, are particularly dangerous when ingested by people. If you keep pet raccoons or raise orphans, worm them frequently with pyrantel pamoate and milbemycin oxime. If you have neighborhood raccoons, do not leave dog or cat food outside where it will attract them. Keep your trash cans well covered and seal up attic crawl spaces where these animals can nest.

Certain tapeworms that encyst in the muscles of livestock and fish can also infect humans. Taenia solium is carried through pork, T. saginata by beef and Diphyllobothrium latum by fish. The common pigmy tapeworm of dogs and cats (dipylidium) that I see frequently in dogs and cats is never infectious to people. Besides the three tapeworms previously mentioned, Echinococcus granulosa, can infect people. The first three develop in the human intestine while the last can cause major damage to the human brain and body organs.

Dog Heartworms
Within the last twenty years in the United States about eighty cases were reported in the State of Florida.


Protozoa are microscopic single-celled organisms. The vast majority of protozoa live free in the environment or as harmless inhabitants of the body but some are capable of causing disease.
If a woman becomes infected during the later two thirds of pregnancy toxoplasmosis may cause severe fetal abnormalities. This is why pregnant women should NEVER clean a cat's litter box.

Viral Encephalitis
West Nile Virus
ORF (Parapoxvirus)

Streptococcus and Staphylococci
Plague (5 cases in 2013 from infected cats)
Helicobacter pylori
Cat Scratch Fever (Bartonellosis)
Q Fever
Tularemia Or Rabbit Fever

Ticks that feed on wildlife reservoirs of diseases will sometimes transfer them to your pets. If the ticks later leave the pet and bite the owner for their next blood meal they may transfer a number of diseases caused by bacteria, rickettsia and spirochetes.
Lyme Disease
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever


Spongiform encephalopathy

Sarcoptic Mange Or Scabies

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author avatar Wally
9th Dec 2013 (#)

My family has been into racing pigeons ever since I was born. My grandfather had pigeons all his life and as kids we used to bag up the manure and sell it for pocket money. None of us ever got sick from breathing the dust or from keeping pet pigeons. I,m now 47 and have been around pigeons all my life. My father is 70 and my granfather died a few years ago at 83 after having pigeons all his life even keeping sick ones in the house while they got well. What a crock this article is, I've never ever heard of pigeons making anyone sick. Anyway what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

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author avatar kaylar
19th Feb 2014 (#)

Recently, the Lock Up at Central Police Station in Kingston has had to be closed due to the infestation of pigeons and the sickenss of many inmates.

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author avatar Justin Okello
25th Aug 2014 (#)

Actually, false.According to the local news: "The poor conditions at the station were highlighted last week when a female corporal sustained injuries after falling through the floor. The policewoman was in the barracks, when the floor gave way. She banged her head on a refrigerator and found herself stuck at the waist.
She was taken to hospital and subsequently placed on sick leave.

A police source described conditions at the station as "rough." According to the source, the building is without running water. " Checked with the Kingston and St. Andrew Health Department, and the closure had nothing to do with pigeons.

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author avatar Saki
10th Apr 2014 (#)

I have pigeons as pet since my childhood. And i am still alive. Yes birds may carry disease's. But again anything can happen in this world and you cant predict it. Just keep them healthy n with timely medication

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author avatar Andy
30th Apr 2014 (#)

When there is doubt over whether or not Pigeons are vermin - don't keep them; an analogy would be smoking whether or not you get cancer from it, play safe stop smoking!

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author avatar Justin Okello
15th Sep 2014 (#)

Erysipeloid: In humans, Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae infections most commonly present in a mild cutaneous form known as erysipeloid or fish poisoning. E. rhusiopathiae can cause an indolent cellulitis, more commonly in individuals who handle fish and raw meat. It gains entry typically by abrasions in the hand. Bacteremia and endocarditis are uncommon but serious sequelae.Due to the rarity of reported human cases, E. rhusiopathiae infections are frequently misidentified at presentation
Listeriosis: The main route of acquisition of Listeria is through the ingestion of contaminated food products. Listeria has been isolated from raw meat, dairy products, vegetables, fruit and seafood. Soft cheeses, unpasteurized milk and unpasteurised pâté are potential dangers; however, some outbreaks involving post-pasteurized milk have been reported.

Rarely listeriosis may present as cutaneous listeriosis. This infection occurs after direct exposure to L. monocytogenes by intact skin and is largely confined to veterinarians who are handling diseased animals, most often after a listerial abortion.
Pasteurella multicida: Pasteurella multocida is the cause of a range of diseases in mammals and birds including fowl cholera in poultry, atrophic rhinitis in pigs and bovine hemorrhagic septicemia in cattle and buffalo. It can also cause a zoonotic infection in humans, which typically is a result of bites or scratches from domestic pets. Many mammals and birds harbor it as part of their normal respiratory microbiota including domestic cats and dogs.
Yersiniosis: Infection with Y. enterocolitica occurs most often in young children. The infection is thought to be contracted through the consumption of undercooked meat products, unpasteurized milk, or water contaminated by the bacteria.
Schistosomiasis: The disease is spread by contact with water that contains the parasites. These parasites are released from freshwater snails that have been infected. The disease is especially common among children in developing countries as they are more likely to play in infected water. Other high risk groups include farmers, fishermen, and people using infected water for their daily chores. BTW, Pigeons don't eat snails...
I suggest anyone actually reading this spend 5 minutes doing actual research, and seeing just how factually incorrect the writer is. It's funny, Kaylar "wrote" a later article discussing how most of what you read on the internet (and sites like this) is incorrect at best:

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author avatar Brian Henderson
15th Sep 2014 (#)

Its easy to stir up controversy, the question is, is it based in fact. I have been treating sick pigeons for 4 years now and I am in contact with sick pigeon every day of the year. I am never sick from anything associated with pigeons and my medical record shows my doctors opinion that that is the case. If you want something more solid, if you check out the following link, you will see that a search of the records for transmission of disease from pigeons to humans only found 176 cases for the period 1941-2003. Compare that with most domestic pets. Dog feces alone accounts for 700 cases of blindness in the UK. Its on posters put up by my local London borough.

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author avatar Brian Henderson
15th Sep 2014 (#)

Forgot to post the link mentioned above

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author avatar Justin Okello
15th Sep 2014 (#)

Funny.. he lies about the Lock Up at Central Police Station in Kingston (easy to look up the actual issue..), and yet disputes the qualifications of anyone who disagrees... He may be "passionate" about history, culture, current events, science and law, but seems to have no actual knowledge that isn't cut and pasted...I'd be willing to bet "Kaylar" runs an extermination service...

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author avatar Justin Okello
15th Sep 2014 (#)

I think the best reply is to use Kaylar's own words. It shows how people (a writer on Wikinuts, perhaps) will decide something is true, and look for only those "facts" that support what they want to believe. In the face of actual evidence, all they can do is dispute said evidence (even from a reputable, international source), and ignore.
"Most people believe what they are told. They don't think, analyse, reflect, compare. They believe it. Even when what they are told will conflict with what they know or remembered they are putty in the hands of someone with an agenda who can give them false memories which they swallow whole."
A REAL writer or scientist will look at new information and adjust accordingly. If they don't, they're not interested in "facts", just pushing their agenda..

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author avatar Rachel
16th Sep 2014 (#)

Thank you for your recent email to the Department of Health regarding health risks associated with feral pigeons. Your email was passed to the Emerging Infections and Zoonoses section in Public Health England.

We are not aware of any cases of human infections associated with contact with pigeon faeces. Whilst wild bird faeces including pigeon faeces can present a potential hazard from infections such as Campylobacter and Salmonella via faecal-oral transmission (i.e. when contaminated bird faeces is accidentally swallowed), there is limited documented supportive evidence for this occurrence. The use of simple hygiene precautions especially hand washing after touching potentially contaminated materials and before eating or drinking should reduce the risk of infection via the faecal-oral route.

A review of human health hazards posed by feral pigeons in 2004 concluded that, “In spite of the worldwide distribution of feral pigeons, the close and frequent contact they have with humans, their use as food, and the high prevalence of carriage of human pathogens, zoonotic disease caused by feral pigeons is infrequent. Although feral pigeons pose sporadic health risks to humans, the risk is very low, even for humans involved in occupations that bring them into close contact with nesting sites.” (Haag-Wackernagel & Moch, Health Hazards posed by Feral Pigeons, Journal of Infection, 2004, Issue 48:

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author avatar Ikhjot Kaur
4th Oct 2015 (#)

I might be small but this article really helped me and my brother sisters to. We quickly washed our hands because we all touched a lot of things.This article made us on our senses that all birds might look good or nice but it is spreading a very dangerous disease.

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