Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

September 1968


Certain fungi have been found frequently as saprophytes in areas containing large amounts of bird excreta. These fungi have the ability to survive, multiply, and cause disease once they have entered a host. Two of these are Crypto-coccus neoformans and Histoplasma capsulatum. Both may easily become airborne and be disseminated throughout an area by the prevailing winds. C. neo-formans is commonly isolated from the excreta of pigeon habitats, and in turn has been associated with clinical cases of cryptococcosis, while blackbird roosts, harboring H. capsulatum, have been responsible for several outbreaks of histoplasmosis. When either of these fungi have become established in nature, the sites may become foci for infection and epidemics may occur if the sites are disturbed. This has led to investigation of these organisms with respect to: 1) the frequency of isolation of H. capsulatum from the soil beneath blackbird roosts in a histoplasmosis endemic area; 2) the infectivity of undisturbed roosts positive for H. capsulatum; and 3) the effectiveness of chemical decontamination of areas containing C. neoformans or H. capsulatum.