Australia Seagulls Carry Superbugs

Article heading image for You Can Give Strand Seagulls Your Chip But You Don't Want What They Have

Article heading image for You Can Give Strand Seagulls Your Chip But You Don't Want What They Have

Scientists, led by a team from Perth's Murdoch University, said 20% of silver gulls were thought to carry disease-causing bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

"This is the first comprehensive study establishing that seagulls across Australia are carriers of drug resistant disease-causing E. coli that could affect humans".

Their study involved taking more than 550 samples from silver gulls around Australia and testing them for various bacteria. Allegedly, the bacteria can cause urinary tract infection, in addition to sepsis and blood infections.

"These are bacteria that reside in [the] human gut, and we think that the seagulls are getting in touch with human feces somehow through sewage, or through nappies or incontinence pads from nursing homes and probably through the waste dumps where these seagulls go and scavenge", he said.

The World Health Organization has warned of the increasing threat of so-called superbugs, bacteria that have developed resistance to known antibiotics, and called for the urgent development of a new generation of drugs.

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Scientists believe the pathogens could then be passed back to people who touched the birds' feces, although hand-washing would reduce the risk.

The look confirmed some bugs found within the faeces were resistant to general antibiotic medications similar to cephalosporin and fluoroquinolone.

Researchers at Murdoch University have found that the seaside birds have the potential to pass on infections to us.

"I insist that it is a be-careful call for all govt and loads of companies, love water treatment and colossal councils that organize extinguish, to smartly work collaboratively to contend with this anxiety", acknowledged Dr Sam Abraham, a lecturer in veterinary and clinical infectious ailments.

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