The home inspections we do allow us a small glimpse into some extraordinary people and their extraordinary stories. On a recent inspection we met a man with a very interesting life story that had landed him in a wheelchair.
He was fortunate enough to have a wonderful girlfriend that took great care of him. The reason we were at his home was unfortunately because of her. She had contracted histoplasmosis and had already lost sight in one of her eyes.
Histoplasmosis is an infectious disease caused by inhaling spores of a fungus called Histoplasma capsulatum. Histoplasmosis is not contagious. It cannot be transmitted from an infected person or animal to someone else.
So if histoplasmosis is not contagious, how do you get it?
We’re an expert bat removal company. That’s all we do. So logically, you can conclude we were at this particular residence because of a bat problem.
Histoplasmosa capsulatum is a fungus found in more than three inches of bat guano. It can be found in other places but what makes it interesting when it’s in bat guano is that it actually multiplies where it doesn’t elsewhere. It also needs a humid environment for this growth. Most histoplasmosis cases in the United States are found along the Ohio River Valley Mississippi River region. Drier more arid climates like you would find in Arizona or California are a lot less likely to have a problem with histoplasmosis.
Our unfortunate homeowner’s girlfriend from earlier had made the mistake of going into the attic before the bats were removed and the attic was cleaned of guano without any safety gear. Histoplasmosis was contracted in this situation by disturbing the fungal spores in the guano and then they are typically inhaled.
Are you still thinking about doing cleanup yourself after your bat problem is gone? Check out this story from the Dominican Republic about some workers at a dam and their experience with histoplasmosis.
Symptoms of Histoplasmosis
Histoplasmosis primarily affects a person’s lungs but can affect the eye. It’s symptoms vary greatly.
The vast majority of infected people have no symptoms or they experience symptoms so mild they do not seek medical attention. If symptoms do occur, they average 10 days from exposure to start but can appear anywhere within 3 to 17 days after exposure. Histoplasmosis can appear as a mild, flu-like respiratory illness and has a combination of symptoms, including fever, loss of appetite, chest pain, joint and muscle pains, dry or nonproductive cough, malaise, shortness of breath, headache, chills, and hoarseness.
Histoplamosis can be diagnosed through chest X-Rays and lab cultures. Chronic lung disease due to histoplasmosis resembles tuberculosis and can worsen over months or years. The most severe and rare form of this disease is disseminated histoplasmosis, which involves spreading of the fungus to other organs outside the lungs.
Mild cases of histoplasmosis are usually resolved without treatment. For severe cases, special antifungal medications are needed to arrest the disease. Disseminated histoplasmosis is fatal if untreated, but death can also occur in some patients even when medical treatment is received.
Do you have bats living in your attic? Have you had a persistent cough for a while or any of the symptoms listed above? You may want to take a visit to your doctor if you have been exposed to bat guano.
Don’t Try Bat Cleanup Alone
This blog has been on my heart for a while. It’s always surprising to me how many people ask if they can just sweep up bat guano.
I believe losing your vision, having long term health ramifications, or even death is a hefty price to pay to save a few dollars on guano cleanup or histoplasmosis remediation. We’re experts and NIOSH certified to clean up this hazardous material.
You don’t have to live with bats and you really shouldn’t clean up after them yourself. Your health is worth more than the risk. Have one of our expert bat removal technicians come check out your problem.
Your local bat removal expert,
May 17, 2023 |
I have scattered Guano droppings on a concrete patio which I in advertently walked on before realizing. Is that something I can clean myself.? What can I use to clean my shoes? Thank you
May 23, 2023 |
Hi, don't be overly worried about stepping on a few droppings. Use a disinfectant on the sole of your shoe like you would with any other excrement and use your normal soap on your skin if it came in contact. The danger that sets bat guano aside from other excrement is found where it accumulates in piles and breeds a fungus, which you wouldn't want to touch or breath into your lungs.
February 27, 2021 |
Help! Is there a reputable company in SE Michigan that will come and rid my attic of many bats and clean up all their droppings?
March 1, 2021 |
Hello, We have a very good technician in the SE Michigan area. I will pass your email on to our customer service office. You are also welcome to call our 877-264-2287 office number.
February 11, 2020 |
Ideally, bats should be allowed to familiarize themselves with the bat box before being expelled from their traditional roost. This can be done by installing the box in the winter or spring, then allowing the bats to remain in the attic over the summer, during which time they will investigate the box. Bat-proofing should then be completed in the fall after the bats have left the building. The following spring, when the bats return, they will not be able to get into the building, but they will be familiar with the bat box and ready to inhabit it. This timing of events makes the task of bat-proofing easier for the homeowner, because the bats should be less persistent in trying to reenter the house.
January 16, 2020 |
Do the spores ever die? When they spread, do they start again in the new location or reproduce? Can you carry the spores on you or your things/clothes and cause exposure to others? Is there a way to remove the spores permanently such as killing? --- what once thought as bed bug, turned out to be BAT bugs. Leading to further hindsight review leading to chest xray. The exposure from the 4-7inches in the attic had been eating the structure of the home. The ceiling was sinking, walls exposing cavities,etc. The dusting every morning on the surface of everything and exposure from deteriorating walls and ceiling was causing a dust. Do, our belongings were left as property management refused to treat. I do t want to spread it across multe states and family homes. I also do t want to continue inhaling it I get it does not go from a person. To another via I halation , but can I spread via carrying on my clothes or truck or boxes etc. ?
January 18, 2020 |
Hello, those are very good questions. We can't give you medical advice but we very strongly recommend that you contact your doctor with these questions. If you have other bat infestation questions, please feel free to call out customer service number 877-264-2287.
January 8, 2017 |
I've been in n out of the hospital for chest pain and pneumonia, I have asthma, chronic broc , cough a lot. can the bats living in the attic cause these symptoms to worsen?
January 9, 2017 |
Absolutely. Their guano carries a fungus that makes people sick. People with respiratory problems are way more susceptible to it.