Posted in Health, news

Pigeon Poop Can Kill

Two people have died in Scotland after contracting a fungal infection linked to pigeon droppings.

One was an elderly patient at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and another was a child. The actual cause of death or mode of exposure has not been revealed but the hospital has taken precautions, running “smoke tests” to find where pigeons are “getting in.”

Cryptoccous infections may be linked to a fatal meningitis in which the brain and spinal cord succumb to the fungus.

The CDC reports:

An estimated 220,000 cases of cryptococcal meningitis occur among people with HIV/AIDS worldwide each year, resulting in nearly 181,000 deaths.1 Most cryptococcal meningitis cases occur in sub-Saharan Africa (Figure 1). Throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa, Cryptococcus is now the most common cause of meningitis in adults. Cryptococcal meningitis is therefore one of the leading causes of death in HIV/AIDS patients in sub-Saharan Africa, where it may kill more people each year than tuberculosis.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Photophobia
  • Severe Headache
  • Neck Pain
  • Photophobia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Delirium
  • Coma
  • and even death.


Strong immune systems can usually deter a Cryptococcus infection, but those who are immunocompromised or suppressed can be at risk.


Cryptococcus may be in marijuana

Last Year 48-year-old California woman reportedly acquired life-threatening meningitis from marijuana contaminated with fungus.

Dr. Bryan Shapiro explained in a case study published in the British Medical Journal that she contracted Cryptococcus neoformans from her 3-6 joint-a-day smoking habit.

Crytococcus infections can commonly affect those who are immunosuppressed, but this patient was believed to be relatively healthy.

Her symptoms included feeling fatigued and dizzy but began getting combative, reportedly assaulting a coworker.  She eventually was seen at Cedars of Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where they tested the cerebral spinal fluid surrounding the brain, revealing the life threatening fungus.




After she was successfully treated, Dr. Shapiro investigated the dispensary in Bakersfield from where she purchased her marijuana.  Nine samples tested positive for the fungus.

It’s been established that marijuana leaves are contaminated with pesticides, chemicals and mold.


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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.



Nationally Syndicated Radio Host, Board Certified Family Medicine Physician, Author

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