June 22, 2010
Pigeons Carry Harmful Bacteria
Campylobacter jejuni causes more diarrhea than Salmonella
Sampling of pigeons captured on the streets of Madrid has revealed the bacterial pathogens they carry. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica found two bugs that were highly prevalent in the bird population, Chlamydophila psittaci and Campylobacter jejuni, both of which cause illness in humans.
Chlamydophila psittaci was found in 52.6% of the pigeons captured, while Campylobacter jejuni was present in 69.1%. Although there have been few reports of disease transmission between pigeons and humans, it can occur by aerosols, direct contact or indirect contact through food and water contamination. According to Esper³n, "Thermophilic Campylobacter species are considered the primary pathogens responsible for acute diarrhea in the world. In fact, in many countries such as England and Wales, Canada, Australia and New Zealand Campylobacter jejuni infection causes more cases of acute diarrhea than infection by Salmonella species".
Reference: Screening for several potential pathogens in feral pigeons (Columba livia) in Madrid. Belen Vazquez, Fernando Esperon, Elena Neves, Juan Lopez, Carlos Ballesteros and Maria Jesus Munoz. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica (in press)
On the Net: