Saw an ad for Puerto Rico in the NY Times that featured the Pigeon Park. Pigeon Park is a hidden wonder of Old San Juan. You can walk amongst the birds who claim this area as their home. And why wouldn't they? For a small fee, you can feed them from your hands as they perch, or on your head. They'll come. While there I had thoughts about the warnings I had heard about the diseases transmitted by pigeons.
Examples of transmissible bird diseases associated with pigeons, geese, starling and house sparrows:
-- Histoplasmosis is a respiratory disease that may be fatal. It results from a fungus growing in dried bird droppings.
-- Candidiasis is a yeast or fungus infection spread by pigeons. The disease affects the skin, the mouth, the respiratory system, the intestines and the urogenital tract, especially the vagina. It is a growing problem for women, causing itching, pain and discharge.
-- Cryptococcosis is caused by yeast found in the intestinal tract of pigeons and starlings. The illness often begins as a pulmonary disease and may later affect the central nervous system. Since attics, cupolas, ledges, schools, offices, warehouses, mills, barns, park buildings, signs, etc. are typical roosting and nesting sites, the fungus is apt to found in these areas.
-- Salmonellosis often occurs as "food poisoning" and can be traced to pigeons, starlings and sparrows. The disease bacteria are found in bird droppings; dust from droppings can be sucked through ventilators and air conditioners, contaminating food and cooking surfaces in restaurants, homes and food processing plants.
Fortunately, I did not suffer any of these diseases, but I do avoid trips to pigeon park.
I had a similar close call last week.
My wife asked me to mow the lawn.
Just as I was sitting down on the mower, I remembered reading a story about 500 Americans killed every year on riding lawn mowers.
Boy did I jump off that mower in a hurry.
I decided instead to drive over to the party store to pick up a 6-pack and relax for the afternoon.
Then I heard this story on the radio about the thousands of people killed on America's highways in auto accidents. So I jumped out of my car in a New York minute. I can walk to the party store for my 6-packand save lives.
But then I read about all the people with health problems due to alcohol consumption. So I skipped the trip to the store.
So now I'm hiding under my bed as I type this, quite happy to have saved my own life several times today.
Too be aware of the potential dangers is better than going into a deangerous situation. To drink or doing drugs while driving is stupid and dangerous. To go
without vaccine protection is stupid. To drive without a safety belts is stupid.
To ride a motorcycle without a helmet is stupid. But the point is that there are a lot of stupid people who disregard warnings and cautions.