Cleanup Procedures for Bird or Bat Contamination


Preventing Histoplasmosis

Histoplasmosis, a fungal infection of the lungs, can be contracted by exposure to areas where bird or bat droppings have accumulated, or where many birds frequently roost. A thorough cleaning of such sites is recommended to help prevent histo infection. Our suggested procedures are below.

The MDH appreciates the opportunity to provide consults regarding health-related issues. Collaborative projects among local, state, and federal agencies strengthen ties and introduce working relationships for future endeavors. The MDH is available to provide further clarification of suggestions made as well as continued consultation. Please feel free to contact the Division of Epidemiology with the MDH at any time at 601-576-7725.

Cleanup of Large Bird Roosts in Cane Brakes
Relieve the roosting problem
Drive birds from the area using loud noises or pyrotechnics, or other methods recommended by the USDA-Wildlife Services office. Follow this with complete or partial removal of the cane.
Remove cane while minimizing risk
Remove cane shortly after a heavy rain while the ground is saturated. This will minimize the risk of fungal agents from becoming airborne.
Persons conducting the removal of the cane from the property should be healthy, and not immuno-compromised.
Persons responsible for removing cane should consider the use of protective respiratory equipment such as that approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Once removed from the soil, the cane itself should not pose a health risk. Persons responsible for its disposal do not need to use special precautions.
Replant the site with another type of vegetation to secure the soil and prevent aerosolization of potentially contaminated soil.

^ Top  

Cleanup of Bat Guano Accumulations
Trained personnel should remove any remaining guano using approved protective equipment, and using methods to prevent aerosolization of guano. Removal should entail wetting down material to be removed and possibly utilizing HEPA vacuums for removal. Guidelines can be obtained from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NISOH) publication No. 97-146, September 1997.
Properly dispose of material collected during clean-up.
Thoroughly clean visible and accessible area of the interior walls where bats were know to roost, or where guano was observed. Use an approved disinfectant. Guidelines can be obtained from the NISOH.
If complete elimination and cleaning of inaccessible areas is not feasible, those areas should be isolated and enclosed to prevent future exposure to aerosolized particles. Materials resistant to degradation should be used to secure the area.

Monitor those who may have been exposed to aerosol particles during this work for any adverse health effects. This includes those involved in the cleanup, and those may subsequently return to the area, such as employees or residents. Monitoring would include identifying any signs and symptoms consistent with histoplasmosis, such as malaise, fever, chest pain, dry or non-productive cough, headache, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, joint and muscle pains, chills, and hoarseness.

The MDH is available to aid in the design and implementation of a surveillance system for monitoring health effects.

Document areas of contamination and suspected contamination for future reference. Should the contained areas required excavation, demolition, or any other type of work that would potentially aerosolize remaining guano, this information would be needed to protect workers or other persons at risk for exposure.

^ Top  

This page last reviewed on Jun 19, 2003 report errors on this page e-mail email this page print print 
Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866-HLTHY4U web@HealthyMS.com
Facebook Twitter RSS