Birds are not generally a concern from a disease standpoint, but when they gather in large numbers in close proximity to human populations, the accumulation of droppings can pose health problems as well as other concerns. Depending on their location and the likelihood of human exposure, dropping accumulation can cause:

  • Too much weight on a structure, leading to structural damage
  • Unsightly appearance/foul odor
  • Disease

The most pressing of these problems from a public health standpoint is disease. The primary fungal disease of concern is histoplasmosis. The disease is caused by the inhalation of spores that are associated with bird droppings.   Unlike bats, birds do not carry the disease.  Their droppings serve as a nutrient source for the disease causing spores to proliferate.  The hazard is created when the dry droppings are disturbed and the disease-causing spores become airborne.

It is important to remove accumulations of droppings as they occur to prevent any potential spread of spores. Removal must be done carefully to minimize disturbance and potential exposures. IU employees doing removal work must follow the guidelines below.