Jo-Ann Miller 'put in hospital' by office pigeon colony
JO-ANN Miller is recovering in hospital from pneumonia after her office was closed for the removal of pigeons from the building's roof cavity.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland closed the Member for Bundamba's Goodna office this week to remove the birds' feathers and excrement from the roof.
Speaking to The Queensland Times from her hospital bed on a "cocktail of drugs" to kill the germs, Ms Miller believed the pigeons had caused her to fall ill.
"There have been pigeons in the roof for the last two and a half years," she said.
"I started to get very sick and I have pneumonia."
On Tuesday, Ms Miller noticed symptoms of the disease.
Pneumonia is a type of lung infection that is caused by a virus or bacteria.
The staff and volunteers in Ms Miller's electorate office exposed to the pigeons' dust have also given blood samples to test for disease.
"No one knew or guessed that pigeons in a roof could be such a pest and could result in us all getting sick," Ms Miller said.
A spokesman for Workplace Health and Safety Queensland confirmed it had closed the office and was investigating the problem.
"Our staff, including hygiene specialists, visited her workplace yesterday to make initial enquiries into whether her illness was connected with pigeons in the building," he said.
"However, at this stage, there is no evidence that the two issues are connected.
"Further tests will take place on Monday as samples must be taken to a lab within 24 hours."
The closure of the electorate office came as the veteran Member for Bundamba was preparing for the parliamentary year.
Ms Miller notified constituents of her electorate office closure on Facebook.
"For the safety of staff and visitors, the office will be closed until Workplace Health and Safety gives clearance," she wrote.
"Workers' safety is paramount.
"If you need us, please call and leave a message or email and we'll get back to you as soon as we can."
Ms Miller, who was apologetic for missing the annual Australia Day activities at Bundamba Pool, said the office faced a mammoth clean-up before it could be re-opened.
The pigeons' feathers and poo will be removed and the air-conditioning system cleaned before staff are permitted to re-enter the building.
Ms Miller was unsure when the cleaning would be completed and the office opened.
She said some of the blame for the pigeon problem laid with the management of St Ives Shopping Centre, which houses her electorate office.
"You're entitled to a safe working environment," she said.
Pace Property, which manages the centre, declined to comment.