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The flip side of pigeon-feeding

The flip side of pigeon-feeding
Highlights

Feeding pigeons is a hobby people enjoy and children have fun shooing away the unsuspecting birds eating grains. However, unbelieving it may sound, the interaction with pigeons is a cause for serious medical diseases for many, according to experts.  

Hyderabad: Feeding pigeons is a hobby people enjoy and children have fun shooing away the unsuspecting birds eating grains. However, unbelieving it may sound, the interaction with pigeons is a cause for serious medical diseases for many, according to experts.

Meena Nambiar, a microbiologist living in an apartment at Habsiguda, who has been religiously feeding pigeons believing that it would bring her a good fortune, got a shock of life when a doctor said that pigeons were the cause for her asthma-like symptoms developed recently. It is very difficult to diagnose this disease and the medical fraternity too is unaware about the possibility that it could be Bird Fancier’s disease (BFL). Dr Gopalan, a private practitioner says, “The symptoms are of allergic respiratory disease which makes it difficult to diagnose.”

People in city have been feeding pigeons for decades but in the last few years it has become a fad. There are several feeding spots in the city such as Tank Bund, Sindhi Colony, Nampally, Koti, Mehdipatnam, Toli Chowki, Necklace Road station, Monda Market, MJ Market and Mecca Masjid to name a few.

The fungal infections are spread in the moist months of monsoon, the harmful fungus is found in the bird droppings which spread through the dust and flapping of wings. If entered into the lung unchecked by the immune system can lead to hypersensitivity pneumonitis - a condition where the lungs get inflamed. Apart from this, pigeons also infest on blood sucking mites which can lead to skin diseases and allergies.

Pulmonologist from Chest Hospital, Dr Nalini said, “Hypersensitivity pneumonitis or bird fancier’s disease is not common in India but it can occur in the people who have poor immune defenses.”

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