Pigeons really are a health issue

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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I am writing in response to Marsda Conner's letter regarding pigeons [Pigeons don't make people sick, Viewpoints, Aug. 30]. She says, "I have never felt that a pigeon is 'a health issue' and have never heard of anyone getting sick from pigeons." Well, though I "have never heard of anyone getting sick" from second-hand smoke, I believe medical science when researchers tell us it causes health problems, and I applaud public health efforts to limit exposure to it. 

Pigeons are definitely a public health issue. Their droppings and feathers can cause histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, and other diseases (http://www.idph.state.il.us/public/hb/hbb&bdrp.htm). People walk with their children through these droppings, they wheel baby strollers through them, they carry the droppings on their shoes into restaurants, shops, and homes. Increasing the cleaning from once in a great while to weekly won't work — there are now too many pigeons and the droppings return immediately. 

In addition, I don't think it's safe for Oak Park workers to just hose the droppings off, as this exposes them to the spores that cause disease (I've seen the cleanings, and the workers are not wearing masks, gloves, or boots). The village could end up with workers' comp claims. 

The pigeons should be killed or removed by a professional company.

Roberta Arnold  

Oak Park    

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