(Bird, Bat Droppings) Prevention/Remediation

          Histoplasmosis is a lung disease caused by inhaling the spores of a fungus known as Histoplasma Capsulatum. This fungus is naturally present in soils and grows best in soils with high nitrogen content, especially those contaminated with bird manure or bat droppings.

          Disturbance of soil, dust, debris or droppings contaminated with Histoplasma Capsulatum cause these spores to become airborne where they can be carried long distances. Once inhaled, the fungal spores cause a flu-like illness whose symptoms usually start 3-17 days of exposure. The resulting lung infection can be short term (acute) and relatively mild or can be long-term (chronic) and serious. The chronic lung infection is like tuberculosis and can progress over months or years and scar the lung. In advanced stages, Disseminated Histoplasmosis can result which can be fatal in infants, young children and persons with weakened immune systems (such as those with cancer or HIV infection). Many infected persons have no apparent symptoms and do not seek medical attention. Histoplasmosis is not contagious.

          Workers involved with construction, excavation and demolition; especially those restoring historical or abandoned buildings are primarily at risk. Roofers, bridge painters and maintenance personnel who disturb or cleanup droppings are also potential risk occupations. Schools, day-care facilities, hospitals, clinics must be particularly vigilant in their inspections and control efforts.

          AET's services involving Histoplasmosis include both proactive prevention measures as well as design and control of remediation efforts including:

  1. Assessing risk associated with areas of contamination based on occupancy and exposure potential.
  2. Development of work plans, environmental contracting and project management during remediation in areas of contamination.
  3. Proactive steps and controls to minimize/prevent accumulations, roosting, including alterations to the building envelope.
  4. Training of maintenance staff in proper methods and controls (including personnel protective equipment and decontamination procedures) during disturbance or cleanup of areas of contamination.

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