When it comes to public health concerns, guano accumulation is a common issue, but it is one that is not always addressed in a manner that is timely. Bat excrement (also known as guano) is known to accumulate in areas of human dwellings, underneath trees or on various pieces of equipment.
In order to learn more about the public health concerns associated with the accumulation of guano in residential areas, read on to learn more.
Spread of Disease
Bat guano contains a high amount of nutrients, which may sound like an advantage, but actually puts human beings are exposed to guano at a severe disadvantage. The high occurrence of nutrients places humans at risk, by providing an environment where potentially harmful organisms can grow and thrive.
This disease is one of the most commonly associated with guano accumulation. It is a fungal infection and results in disease when it is not properly treated. The disorder is incurred when humans inhale dust from guano fumes, which contain large amounts of the potentially harmful organisms that typically dwell in large guano accumulations.
While the organisms in guano that led to the onset of this disorder are naturally present in most scenarios, a human's natural resistance to normal amounts allows them to remain safe. There are a number of other diseases and ailments that increase a person's susceptibility to Mycosis.
This includes testing positive for HIV, taking medications for immunosuppressing concerns, and cancer. These are more serious instances, but it also bears mentioning that those who are currently on antibiotic therapy regimens, have recently experienced some form of surgical trauma, have a chronic disease or sustained an injury to their skin can also fall victim to Mycosis as a result of guano exposure.
Histoplasmosis can be caused in any region of the world where there is continuous exposure to contaminated soils. The causative agent is a mold found within the soil, a mold that grows as a result of guano accumulation. When bat droppings have been allowed to accumulate over a lengthy period of time (typically around three years), the diseased organisms will begin to overwhelm the rest of the soil.
Areas with high humidity and warm temperatures are susceptible to outbreaks of Histoplasmosis. Even guano that has come into contact with the warmth of the soil can become contaminated with organisms that carry this disease.
However, after being established in soil and enriched with guano, it can be challenging to eliminate the presence of this particular disease. The spores of the fungus are spread to adjacent humans through the usage of wind and dust.
Even though the majority of outbreaks are not much more painful or inconvenient than the average influenza bout and may not produce any symptoms at all, there are a number of risks that can take place if it is not treated in the proper time frame.
These risks include the onset of blindness, pneumonia and even death, in certain instances.
Various Fungal Disorders
Psittacosis, Paracoccidioidomycosis, and blastomycosis are also found in decaying guano matter, but pose a lesser health risks to humans than the aforementioned diseases. Those who are tasked with cleaning bat excrement are advised to remain cautious. These diseases tend to occur most often in those who handle bats on a regular basis.
While rabies is typically not a major area of concern, rapid bats may make their presence known during an attempt to clean guano accumulations. The chances of contracting rabies by inhaling the guano of a bat are slim to none, but handling a rabid bat greatly increases your risk factor.
Bat bugs are usually more commonly found in areas where there are large deposits of guano accumulation. Bat bugs are especially dangerous in these scenarios, as they are microscopic and unable to be seen viewed by the naked eye.
As such, a bat bug who cannot locate a proper blood host will often resort to the next best thing: human flesh. A human does not always feel the bite of a bat bug instantly, but infections, itchiness and swelling can persist for several weeks following an attack.
Treating a Potential Guano Exposure
Many humans erroneously believe that avoiding bat bites is the only precaution that needs to be taken, when handling guano exposes them to dangerous saliva and other organisms that could augur the onset of a serious disease.
Should you or a loved one become exposed to guano, the area of exposure must be washed repeatedly, vigorously, and immediately to defray a potential infection.
When disposing of guano, it is recommended for workers to wear masks, in order to avoid accidental inhalation of harmful particles that can cause infection and disease. Spraying any guano matter with a solution that is comprised of at least 10 percent bleach also helps to decrease the chances of contracting an illness during cleanup.
While guano accumulation can be a public concern and lead to the spread of disease, there are a number of methods for proper disposal. Should a person not be well versed in the art of guano removal, it is recommended that they call a professional as soon as possible.
Many of the diseases and illnesses associated with guano exposure are minor. However, failure to take the proper precautions can lead to severe illness, blindness and even death in more extreme cases. In order to control guano, the bat population must be controlled first, giving you a perfect place to begin!
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