Study: seagulls carry antibiotic-resistant pathogens

Study: seagulls carry antibiotic-resistant pathogens

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Antibiotic-resistant super-pathogens found in seagulls

The increasing resistance of bacterial strains to antibiotics poses a great danger to all of humanity. Pathogens are found more and more which are resistant to most forms of antibiotics. Researchers have now found that seagulls all over Australia already carry so-called antibiotic-resistant super-pathogens.

Murdoch University's recent investigation found that gulls in Australia carry various bacteria that are resistant to many forms of antibiotics. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy".

How dangerous were the pathogens found?

The herring gulls examined, for example, carry bacteria such as E. coli that can cause urinary tract infections, sepsis and blood infections. The research increases fears that the antibiotic-resistant bacteria could infect humans and other animals.

Where did the pathogens come from?

It is believed that the birds have become infected with the pathogens through waste and sewage. The researchers explained that the results of the study should attract public attention to warn of the growing risk of antibiotic-resistant pathogens. Governments and agencies should respond and focus on water treatment and waste management to work to resolve this problem.

Is there a risk of infection for humans?

Humans could become infected with the dangerous bacteria if they come into contact with the gulls' droppings. However, the risk of such an infection is estimated to be low if affected people wash their hands after contact.

Which antibiotics were the bacteria resistant to?

The results of the study showed that some of the pathogens found in the faeces were resistant to common antibiotics such as cephalosporin and fluoroquinolone. One sample even showed resistance to carbapenem, which is often used as the last medicine for severe and high-risk infections. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Shewli Mukerji, Marc Stegger, Alec Vincent Truswell, Tanya Laird, David Jordan et al .: Resistance to critically important antimicrobials in Australian silver gulls (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae) and evidence of anthropogenic origins, in Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapie, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapie

Video: Infectious Disease: Antibiotic Ladder - OnlineMedEd (October 2022).