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In recent years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have observed an increasing number of human illness cases that are directly related to animal dropping contact. Searching for rodent droppings during a facility inspection is an effective approach for confirming animal infestation and for safeguarding the health of your clients.
Rodents (mouse and rat) have been responsible for outbreaks of plague, Leptospirosis, and several fevers. Rodent pathogens include Hantavirus
, Lassa virus
, Leptospirosis bacteria
, and rat-bite bacteria
. Rodents can also carry parasites that transmit Lyme disease
, and anaplasmosis
to humans. If suspect rodent droppings are discovered, simply place a few droppings within a zip lock-style bag and submit them to EMSL for the Rodent Dropping DNA Test. This DNA test is very sensitive and it allows EMSL to analyze suspect fecal samples for both mouse and rat-specific DNA elements. Surface swabs or surface dust can also be submitted for analysis.
Bird and bat droppings are reservoirs for opportunistic fungi than can cause two important human diseases: histoplasmosis and cryptococcosis. Histoplasmosis is caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum. Histoplasma
lives in the environment, usually in association with large quantities of bird or bat droppings. Lung infection can occur after a person inhales airborne spores during construction, excavation, or demolition. In June 2012, the CDC reported a histoplasmosis outbreak among day camp attendees in Nebraska. According to the CDC, the probable infection source related to this outbreak was campsite contamination of soil and picnic tables by bat droppings. Histoplasma capsulatum
fungal spores likely became aerosolized during camp activities (raking leaves, cleaning picnic tables, digging fire pits, and moving firewood) resulting in inhalation exposure.
Cryptococcosis is an infection caused by fungi that belong to the genus Cryptococcus
. While there are over 30 different species of Cryptococcus
, one species of primary concern is Cryptococcus neoformans
. Inhalation of C. neoformans
spores can result in lung infection that could spread to other parts of the body and cause serious illness. Cryptococcus
is found within soil throughout the world, usually in association with the presence of bird droppings, especially pigeon droppings. It is commonly found within debris from pigeon roosts and soil contaminated with decaying pigeon or chicken droppings. If suspect bird or bat droppings are discovered, simply place a few droppings within a zip lock-style bag and submit them to EMSL for DNA analysis. Surface swabs or air samples can also be submitted for analysis.
In addition to rodents, birds, and bats, raccoons can harbor human pathogens as well. Raccoons can carry intestinal parasites such as Baylisascaris procyonis
-infected raccoons have been found within the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and West Coast regions of the United States. Raccoons defecate in communal sites, called latrines. Human exposure to raccoon droppings can occur at latrine sites - attics, garages, decks, patios, and roofs. Human Baylisascaris
infection is caused by accidental ingestion of infectious eggs. Anyone who is exposed to environments where raccoons frequent is potentially at risk. Young children or developmentally disabled persons are at highest risk of infection as they may be more likely to put contaminated fingers, soil, or objects into their mouths. If suspect raccoon droppings are discovered, simply place a few droppings within a zip lock-style bag and submit them to EMSL for DNA analysis. Surface swabs and soil can also be submitted for analysis.
The winter season has begun. Rodents, birds, bats, and raccoons are looking for a warm place to call home. Inspect your clients' facilities for signs of rodent, bird, bat or raccoon droppings. If suspect fecal material is discovered, submit samples for laboratory testing. If required, take the appropriate steps to perform a proper remediation or contact a pest removal specialist. Please visit the CDC website for additional information about these human pathogens.
To discuss your project-specific sampling protocol, please contact Eric Ciotti at email@example.com
. EMSL Analytical, Inc. offers these supporting laboratory analyses:
- Rodent Droppings: DNA Test by PCR, present/absent, M271, report in 3 business days, $157.50 per sample
- Bird and Bat Dropping Pathogens: Histoplasma capsulatum DNA Test by PCR,present/absent, M208, report in 3 business days, $157.50 per sample, or Cryptococcus neoformans DNA Test by PCR, present/absent, M143, report in 3 business days, $157.50per sample
- Raccoon Roundworm: (Baylisascaris procyonis) DNA Test by PCR, present/absent, M236, report in 3 business days, $157.50 per sample