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I’ve been blind in my left eye for 28 years due to ocular histoplasmosis, which is caused by bird droppings.

Pigeons and chickens are the main cause of histoplasmosis/ocular histoplasmosis. These are real diseases with serious side affects.

Bird droppings release spores into the air which we breathe. If the spores settle in our lungs, histoplasmosis may develop — flu-like symptoms which last a few days. Direct contact with the birds or feces is not necessary.

In ocular histoplasmosis, the spores settle in the eye, causing blood vessels to rupture and scar. Lasers may be used to seal the blood vessels and stop the hemorrhaging. However, if the vessels around the macula rupture, lasers can’t be used and blindness occurs.

Some people might initially show interest in owning chickens but not be truly committed to freshness and nutrition. After the novelty wears off, my concern is the chickens will be neglected and coops allowed to deteriorate.

If regulations can be put in place, monitored regularly and enforced, I think “backyard chickens” could work. But how will coops be regulated? Who will be responsible for policing the yards of the owners, checking to see that coops are moved properly and in a timely manner? Will offenders be fined?

The Centers for Disease Control website contains information on histoplasmosis.

After a toddler was accidentally served alcohol in a major restaurant chain last month, the chain made immediate changes even though only one child had been affected.

One case of histoplasmosis is too many!

Georgie Borchardt, Normal


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