February 25, 2010

Is county courthouse hazardous to health?

By Cheryl Odden, BHG News Service

The public often criticizes government for being slow to react. Not so with a recent situation that developed in McLean County. This past Friday, county officials heard news that could ultimately label the McLean County Courthouse as a serious health hazard. Last year, after a courthouse employee became seriously ill, the individual was diagnosed at Mayo Clinic with an affliction called histoplasmosis infection. The condition, caused by airborne spores that are linked to bat excrement can be serious and can be life-threatening. Even though county officials suspected that bat droppings in the courthouse could have caused the employee’s illness, they were unable to confirm that the courthouse bat infestation had been to blame. At the time, the solution seemed to be removal of the bats, cleaning the areas of concern and sealing the attic area and roof to prevent further bat infestation.

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