Seagulls in Australia carry dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria

July 12, 2019

Australian coasts teem with numerous seagulls –the birds could now be dangerous to human health. Research on silver gulls found more than 20% of the species nationwide carry bacteria that causes urinary tract/blood infections and sepsis, contracted from scavenging in rubbish and sewage. Alarmingly, the faecal bacteria also proved resistant to antibiotic medications such as cephalosporin, fluoroquinolone and even carbapenem, a last-resort drug used for severe and high-risk infections. This has compounded fears that the bacteria, similar to superbugs in hospitals, could fatally infect humans and other animals.

Dr. Sam Abraham, from the Veterinary and Medical Infectious Diseases faculty at Murdoch University, Perth, thinks it serves as an “eye-opener” for various government/independent agencies to work to tackle waste handling and water treatment.

Although easily taken ill by touching seagull faeces, people can overcome their risk by thoroughly washing hands/feet afterwards.


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