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Chicken disease that can cause blindness in humans???? - Page 2

post #11 of 18

There are indeed a few folks here that have acquired histoplasmosis.  They all got quite ill, but fortunately none lost their sight as a result.

 

This is  the main reason I can not advocate the deep litter method for coop maintenance.  This is also the reason I wear a respirator when cleaning the coop.  And lastly, this is why I do not let my child help with coop cleaning.  Chickens are great fun to have around, but I am not risking anyone's health by keeping them.

 

I would ask for proof from your neighbor about these cases of occular histoplasmosis.  I think he is fudging the numbers a bit to make a point.  Even in the poultry keeping community it is not a common occurrence.  I find it hard to believe that he has treated so many cases of a rather rare disease.  However, if he has an issue with you burning bedding then perhaps you should just compost it.  Would that be a good compromise?

post #12 of 18

Ocular histoplasmosis is very rare.  However, we live in a farming community and my next door neighbor ("next door" is 1/4 mile down the road) had it long before we ever had chickens, but she got it from the massive flocks of blackbirds that we get periodically.  They even cause wrecks on the highway sometime.  She is fine now, but she had seven laser surgeries on her eyes. 

post #13 of 18
Here is a write-up from the CDC on histoplasmosis. It is caused by a fungus that is pretty common, but the fungus thrives in nitrogen-rich soils, like those containing a lot of bird or bat droppings. It is present in a lot of soils but generally not in concentrations that can cause problems. It is not a disease that chickens catch and carry, but a fungus that can thrive in their droppings.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hi97146.html

People with weakened immune systems are the ones primarily threatened. The article does mention the possibility of people going blind from it, but the way I read this article, someone getting vision problems from it is extremely rare. This is the only article I found that mentions the possibility of people having vision problems due to this fungus. Even a person getting sick from it is somewhat rare unless they have a weakened immune system. Apparently most people don’t show any symptoms from a casual exposure. It generally takes a concentration of the spores.

Like others, I'm guessing histoplasmosis may be what the good Doctor was talking about, but I’m a little confused on that. Particles from burning can irritate eyes and lungs, but wouldn’t the fungus be killed by burning?

I’m not a medical professional, but I don’t see the link between burning the bedding and histoplasmosis. I can see a link between eye irritation and burning, if you are close enough that the concentration of the burned ash and smoke is high enough. If you are allowed to burn, you are probably not in the middle of a city. But I agree, if you can manage it, composting is a better way to go, even if your composting technique is to pile it up and leave it alone and never turn it.

I imagine the doctor has seen vision problems caused by histoplasmosis at some point in his/her practice, but I’m not sure where the good doctor linked that to burning chicken litter. I’d think it would more likely come from someone working with unburned chicken manure or used litter, since the chicken industry is so prevalent here in Arkansas. Or maybe it was linked to the practice of spreading chicken manure on hay fields and pastureland as fertilizer. The link to burning is the one I have trouble making, not the link to chicken manure. If you get a chance, you might question the good doctor on that link to burning chicken litter.

The way I look at this, if your immune system is weakened, histoplasmosis can be a potential problem. If your immune system is in pretty good shape, there is not much risk from histoplasmosis, but it is always wise to take reasonable precautions. I’m more concerned with my allergies acting up when raking in the coop than with the danger to me from histoplasmosis.

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 

Great input everyone.  I kind of thought Doc was just being ugly because the police told him his dog was not allowed to come into my garage or bar/breezeway and pee. We do live 2 acres or more from each other in the country limits but still he thinks he did not have to control his pet. They informed him he could be cited and the dog removed and or I could shoot the dog inside my garage. What????  Okay I won't be doing that.  But anyway, that's when he whipped out the I could call the EPA and report your chickens because they are not free range so the are diseased and we could all go blind.

 

Well yes, we could all go blind. From this disease? Highly unlikely but I do appreciate that fact that now I know a bit more about it and will be even more cautious while cleaning my coops. I am one of those nutty overboard bio-security gals.  I buy wood chips like I buy milk, a lot. I do want to know the best way to take care of my family and my poultry and make sure I am in no way harming others, but I also think some people go overboard when it comes to chickens and mass diseases of destruction. Sorry I need more coffee to come up with something better. 

 

I mean for example, I asked if he had ever looked at the chickens at the State fair and he said Yes that he stayed with his grandson for hours that day in the Poultry barn.  So I said you were not concerned for you GS and your safety with hundreds of birds on tons of litter/chips under one roof?  No reply just dumb founded look. 

 

So all in all, bad situation turned good, I guess. We all learned something that may help keep ourselves and our family safer and my neighbor's dog has to find a new place to mark his territory.  

Retired Army (25 yrs), Married 4 grown kids, 3 grandkids, 1 dog, 1 cat, 5 finch, 20 fish and 14 Harleys and lost count of chickens...

I raise Heritage LF (Single Comb) RIRs. Fogle Line, Black Jersey Giants

WYGS SWAP PAGE:  http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=80874-my-swaptrade-page  celebrate.gif

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Retired Army (25 yrs), Married 4 grown kids, 3 grandkids, 1 dog, 1 cat, 5 finch, 20 fish and 14 Harleys and lost count of chickens...

I raise Heritage LF (Single Comb) RIRs. Fogle Line, Black Jersey Giants

WYGS SWAP PAGE:  http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=80874-my-swaptrade-page  celebrate.gif

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post #15 of 18

This was very interesting to read.  Thank you for posting it.  I use a Chicken tractor and move my chickens all around the yard so much of the poop is left on the ground and washed in by rain or the hose.  I still have to clean out the nest box's and sleeping quarters.  sickbyc.gif

post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 

I am more careful these days myself  D.gif

Retired Army (25 yrs), Married 4 grown kids, 3 grandkids, 1 dog, 1 cat, 5 finch, 20 fish and 14 Harleys and lost count of chickens...

I raise Heritage LF (Single Comb) RIRs. Fogle Line, Black Jersey Giants

WYGS SWAP PAGE:  http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=80874-my-swaptrade-page  celebrate.gif

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Retired Army (25 yrs), Married 4 grown kids, 3 grandkids, 1 dog, 1 cat, 5 finch, 20 fish and 14 Harleys and lost count of chickens...

I raise Heritage LF (Single Comb) RIRs. Fogle Line, Black Jersey Giants

WYGS SWAP PAGE:  http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=80874-my-swaptrade-page  celebrate.gif

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post #17 of 18
I gotta agree that there's some exaggeration going on here. For one thing, histo is endemic where you live, and in endemic regions up to 90% of the population shows exposure to histo. So it isn't just backyard chickens at fault. Secondly, the eye complication is exquisitely rare - and even in an endemic area, I'm having a hard time believing we have a rash of five cases. Thirdly, I'm not convinced a backyard chicken coop is really that dangerous even in an endemic area. I would believe a battery poultry farm with thousands of birds and tons of droppings would be high risk, but 6 birds who free range some with a coop that gets cleaned once a month by someone who is probably already immune due to a lifetime of living in an endemic area? No, not really feeling it here. /shrug
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 

Well I agree, BUT I started his thread thinking it was crazy. But it is real. And yes it is more likely for those who are working  in high production coops. But I do believe it is wise to go ahead and take precautions while cleaning out your coops.  To each's own......   but I'm not risking upper respiratory problems as well anything else. I already have bad allergies.  My neighbor still drives me crazy about having chickens but It could be pigs........LOL   JKlau.gif

Retired Army (25 yrs), Married 4 grown kids, 3 grandkids, 1 dog, 1 cat, 5 finch, 20 fish and 14 Harleys and lost count of chickens...

I raise Heritage LF (Single Comb) RIRs. Fogle Line, Black Jersey Giants

WYGS SWAP PAGE:  http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=80874-my-swaptrade-page  celebrate.gif

Reply

Retired Army (25 yrs), Married 4 grown kids, 3 grandkids, 1 dog, 1 cat, 5 finch, 20 fish and 14 Harleys and lost count of chickens...

I raise Heritage LF (Single Comb) RIRs. Fogle Line, Black Jersey Giants

WYGS SWAP PAGE:  http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=80874-my-swaptrade-page  celebrate.gif

Reply
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