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Health News Florida

Illnesses At Hardee County Courthouse Blamed On Bat Droppings

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Workers at the Hardee County Courthouse complained of scratchy throats and itchy skin last week.

Bat droppings are being blamed for causing breathing problems that made 13 workers ill at a Florida courthouse.

The Lakeland Ledger reports that workers at the Hardee County Courthouse on Thursday complained of coughing, itchy and scratchy throats, chest burning, red eyes, and itchy skin. Two people were treated and released from a hospital.

About 1,500 bats infested the third floor of the courthouse in August but they were removed, the droppings cleaned up and the courthouse reopened.

Circuit Court Judge Marcus Ezelle has ordered the closure of the floor and court proceedings have been moved temporarily to the Board of County Commissioners building next door.

Holly Ober, an associate professor at the University of Florida, says if bat excrement is improperly swept then the droppings can become airborne.

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Information from: The Ledger (Lakeland, Fla.), http://www.theledger.com