Vindication tastes like Skittles

From a super scientific-sounding journal called Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, which I believe translates to, “The information contained in this journal is 100% factual and is never wrong.  Indisputable. Take it as fact. It is church. It is so. Suck it pigeon-lovers. Scandinavia.”

Loosely, of course.

This leads to the hypothesis that pigeons act as asymptomatic reservoirs of Chlamydophila psittaci and Campylobacter jejuni. These birds may therefore pose a public health risk to the human population.

I have no idea what Chlamydophila psittaci and Campylobacter jejuni do to humans, but if I had to guess based on my spectacular translating skills, I’d say the first involves a deadly inflammation of the psittaci and the second, a puss-explosion of the jejuni.

So be ye warned, pigeon lovers. Those “adorable” “harmless” “loving” agents of Satan that you are constantly defending as better than vermin, are actually terrifying carrier-monkeys of deadly disease.

Don’t come crying to me when you get acute psittaciitis or you need to get your jejuni removed before it erupts.

This post has been 100% verified as scientifically accurate by the Accurate Science Institute of Blogging Accuracy, a reputable organization that I did not just make up.

(h/t Macengr)


  1. Jagoff
    June 22, 2010 1:12 pm

    Speaking as a leading amateur scientist, I’m pretty sure Chlamydophila psittaci is commonly known as “the clap”.

  2. Dana
    June 22, 2010 1:21 pm

    Sounds to me like pigeons are carrying biological weapons. They’re tiny terrorists.

  3. bluzdude
    June 22, 2010 1:23 pm

    I agree w/ Jagoff. Chlamydophila sounds a little too much like Chlamydia. Those little mother flutterers are carrying STDs around, right under our noses! Any responsible bird would be practicing Safe Nesting.

  4. pghsciencenerd
    June 22, 2010 1:27 pm

    Campylobacter jejuni is pretty nasty…it’s the most common cause of foodborne illness in the US. It’s a sneaky little creature because the sugars on its surface can trick your immune system into confusing its own neuronal cells with the bacteria, resulting in Guillain-Barré syndrome (basically, your immune system attacks neurons, leading to paralysis). Nasty nasty stuff.

    Chlamydia psittaci is not nearly as exciting, although equally gross. It’s basically pigeon lung cheese, which can be passed on to humans.

    I was always under the impression that pigeons carried a wide variety of nasty poopy bacteria. I think they can also carry amoebae that will eat your brain.

  5. TwinmamaTeb
    June 22, 2010 1:28 pm

    As your resident microbiologist, either of those bacterial infections are no picnic, the first on your lungs and the second on your tummy. And I am sure I can find you a more reputable journal than that to prove pigeons are gross.

  6. TwinmamaTeb
    June 22, 2010 1:30 pm

    J Appl Bacteriol. 1995 Jan;78(1):11-3.
    Intestinal carriage of campylobacters, salmonellas, yersinias and listerias in pigeons in the city of Barcelona.

    Casanovas L, de Simón M, Ferrer MD, Arqués J, Monzón G.

    Microbiology Service, Public Health Laboratory of Barcelona, Spain.

    The faecal bacterial flora of pigeons, which may be the source of infectious diseases in man, was studied in the city of Barcelona. Four hundred cloacal specimens were examined for Campylobacter jejuni, Camp. coli, Salmonella spp., Yersinia spp. and Listeria spp., over a 12 month period. Campylobacter jejuni was the most frequently isolated micro-organism, found in 105 pigeons (26.2%), with a greater incidence in the districts of the city with a high density of pigeons and without seasonal variation. Salmonella spp. were isolated from six specimens (1.5%) and Yersinia intermedia was isolated from only one pigeon.

  7. Monty
    June 22, 2010 1:32 pm

    “Puss-explosion of the jejuni” is easily the dirtiest thing I’ve read on this blog since “Vaginny.”

  8. parkingchair
    June 22, 2010 1:33 pm

    I think we should recall all of our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, then round up every pigeon in America and air drop them in the Afghan mountains.

    After all, Pigeon lovers say they’re a type of dove, right?

    Therefore, rather than dumping our flying rats onto another country, we can spin it that we are sending a symbol of peace to the Taliban.

  9. parkingchair
    June 22, 2010 1:35 pm

    By the way, I also heard that Spielberg is working on a script for “Indiana Jones and the Puss-explosion of the Jejuni” as we speak.

  10. Alyciab
    June 22, 2010 1:40 pm

    Geese are still worse.

  11. macengr
    June 22, 2010 1:41 pm

    I knew you’d love that link!

  12. Noelle
    June 22, 2010 1:43 pm


  13. PK
    June 22, 2010 2:18 pm

    Ginny, I think that based on what @pghsciencenerd wrote you should lead a campaign to have pigeons featured on the Animal Planet show, “Monsters Inside Me.”

    Watch that show once and you’ll never want to swim in a freshwater lake, go to Africa, get near a raccoon, pet a puppy, clean a cat’s litter box…you name it:

    Fair warning…the CGI parasites should not be viewed after eating any food. Especially the eye-eating parasites.

  14. Rob Carr
    June 22, 2010 2:34 pm

    Chlamydophila psittaci is parrot fever.

    As a bird lover, I want to defend the pigeons, but as a parrot owner, I don’t want C. psittaci tracked into my house. Sorta torn there.

    Of course, how many other wild birds also carry these illneses? You can’t wipe out all the wild birds because we’d become over-run with mosquitoes and other insects!

  15. Michele
    June 22, 2010 3:06 pm


    Pigeon lung cheese…. LMAO!

  16. Sooska
    June 22, 2010 4:36 pm

    I saw a rerun of “House” the other night where one guy died and one of House’s minions almost died from what turned out to be a pigeon-borne disease that deposited some small beastie inside one’s brain. AAARRGGHH. If there is any reason to kill them off, THAT provided it. Birds are filthy beasts.

  17. red pen mama
    June 22, 2010 4:50 pm

    As if, as a mom, and a pregnant mom to boot, I didn’t have enough to worry about.

    Also a little sad that “flora” was used in such a disgusting context.

    And, of course, laughing my ass off. All at the same time!

  18. Carpetbagger
    June 22, 2010 5:27 pm

    I think Skippy Skeeve gave the pigeons the clap outside Shadow Lounge in 2007.

    That’s why they are so angry and evil and demon-possessed.

  19. BeauJacques
    June 22, 2010 6:37 pm

    If human hair is a magic crude oil collector….

    it’s obvious that bird feathers perform the same way judging from pelicans in the Gulf….

    Massive Pittsburgh pigeon round-up to clean up the oil spil??

    Prevent junior puss explosions in the process?

  20. unsatisfied
    June 22, 2010 10:53 pm

    Puss-explosion of the Jejuni = great band name.

  21. The Mommy
    June 23, 2010 1:41 pm

    I’m not very good at technical things, so this link may not work but you may be the only person in the entire universe who will find my pigeon story amusing (with the exception of my kids. and that’s only ’cause they love me). Try to click it…or cut and paste…or whatever-people-who-have-technical-skills do.