The scavenging behavior of seagulls may be the reason more than a fifth of Australian seagulls are carrying antibacterial resistant superbugs. Because the birds forage for food in rubbish dumps, and areas with human sewage waste they have come into contact with strains of E. coli that resistant to common antibiotics.
It is believed to be incredibly unlikely to cause problems in humans who come into contact with the birds, particularly if they wash their hands after any contact. If, however, seagull waste was somehow ingested it has the potential to cause an antibiotic resistant infection in a human.
The team from Murdoch University plan to extend their study to better understand how the birds are coming into contact with the drug-resistant bacteria. In addition, they hope to study other scavenging birds to see if they too carry the bacteria.
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