HEALTH HAZARDS ASSOCIATED BAT DROPPINGS
risks from bats are often exaggerated. Nevertheless, large populations of roosting bts may present the risk of disease
to people nearby. The most serious health risks arise from disease organisms that can grow in the nutrient-rich accumulations
of bat droppings and debris under a roost — particularly if roosts have been active for years. External parasites also
may become a problem when infested bats leave roosts or nests. The parasites then can invade buildings and bite people.
is caused by a fungus (Histoplasma capsulatum) found primarily in the areas drained by the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.
Both humans and animals can be affected. The disease is transmitted to humans by airborne fungus spores from soil contaminated
by pigeon and starling droppings (as well as from the droppings of bats). The soil under a roost usually has to have
been enriched by droppings for two years or more for the disease organism to reach significant levels. Although almost always
associated with soil, the fungus has been found in droppings (particularly from bats) alone, such as in an attic.
occurs when spores, carried by the air are inhaled — especially after a roost has been disturbed. Most infections are
mild and produce either no symptoms or a minor influenza- like illness. On occasion, the disease can cause high fever, blood
abnormalities, pneumonia and even death. In some areas, including portions of Illinois, up to 80 percent of the population
show evidence of previous infection. Outbreaks of histoplasmosis have occurred in Central Illinois.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) has reported a potentially blinding eye condition — presumed ocular histoplasmosis
syndrome (OHS) — that probably results from the fungus. NIH estimates that 4 percent of those exposed to the disease
are at risk of developing OHS.
are associated with a few diseases that affect people, such as rabies and histoplasmosis. Rabies is a dangerous, fatal disease,
but only about 5 percent of bats submitted for testing are infected with the rabies virus. In recent years, there has been
increased concern about the risk of rabies transmission following contact with bats. If an injured or ill bat is found in
or around a structure, it should be removed. Because most bats will try to bite when handled, they should be picked up with
tongs or a shovel. (please contact us or your local animal control officer) If a bat has bitten or scratched a person or pet
or is found in your home, capture the bat without touching it with your hands and without crushing its head. If the bat is
dead, refrigerate it (DO NOT freeze) and then contact your local health department immediately for instructions.
with rabies have been identified in most areas of the state. In recent years, bats have been the most common animal identified
with rabies in the state.
incidence of histoplasmosis being transmitted from bat droppings to humans is not thought to be high. Nevertheless, fresh
bat droppings (unlike fresh bird dropping) can contain the histoplasmosis fungus. Bat droppings do not need to come into contact
with soil to be a source of the disease.
and cleanup of bird and bat droppings
there is a SMALL accumulation of droppings from a few birds or bats, it can be cleaned up with soap and water.
BUT, IF AREA is large such as in an attic a professional, such as ourselves, should be contacted for proper
removal of the guano, santization, and area restoration. Also outside exclusion of your residence for re-entry.