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Recommendations for protecting workers from Histoplasma capsulatum exposure during bat guano removal from a church's attic.
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 1994 Apr; 9(4):230-236
This report concerned an investigation by NIOSH of possible hazardous conditions of workers removing old rock wool insulation and a large accumulation of bat droppings from a church attic. Sixteen samples of bat droppings were analyzed for the fungus Histoplasma-capsulatum. H-capsulatum was isolated from all four mice inoculated with material from one of the two bat dropping samples collected at the base of the back hall of the building which was built in 1885. H-capsulatum was not isolated from any of the other inoculated mice, and no mold growth was found on any agar plates which had been direct plated. The ability of a sodium- hypochlorite solution to disinfect potentially contaminated material was investigated. Precautions were recommended for protecting workers from inhalation exposure to the dust. Prior to starting the removal, each worker was informed of health risks from exposure to H- capsulatum. The materials were sprayed with water to reduce the potential for aerosolization. The materials were collected in heavy duty trash bags, and immediately disposed of at a landfill. An industrial vacuum cleaner with a high efficiency particulate air filter was used to remove any remaining dust from the attic. Personal protective equipment used by the workers included a full facepiece powered air purifying respirator with high efficiency filters, disposable protective clothing with a hood, disposable latex gloves under cotton work gloves, and disposable shoe coverings.
NIOSH-Author; Disease-transmission; Occupational-exposure; Respiratory-system-disorders; Personal-protective-equipment; Organic-dusts; Fungal-infections; HHE 92-0348-2361
Issue of Publication
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Page last reviewed: September 22, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division