Scientists warn seagulls across Australia are carrying antibiotic-resistant superbugs. The finding has increased concerns because the bacteria could spread from the birds to animals or humans. Scientists from Murdoch University, Perth led the team of researchers. During the study, they found that more than one-fifth of seagulls nationwide carry drug-resistant harmful bacteria. Most importantly, those bacteria are resistant to commonly-used antimicrobial medicines and could probably lead to severe infections in humans. As per scientists, those silver gulls across the nation carry harmful bacteria like E. coli. It is bacteria that might result in severe diseases like UTI and sepsis, i.e., infection in the bloodstream.
During the study, published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, includes analysis of 562 fecal samples collected throughout Australia. The study reveals some bugs present in the feces are resistant to standard antibiotic drugs like cephalosporin and fluoroquinolone. Even more, one of the samples showed resistance to the last-line drug, which is used for treating severe and vulnerable infections. Doctors use the last-line antibiotic, carbapenem when no other drugs work on the virus.
According to WHO, antimicrobial resistant occurs when some microorganisms alter their behavior due to massive exposure of drugs. Eventually, it leads to the development of resistance against drugs. The global health agency also noted the rapidly increasing overuse of antibiotics and antimicrobial medicines had contributed boost the rate of drug resistance. Now the issue has become a global concern. The WHO has added it in the list of ten biggest threats to global health in 2019.
Scientists involved in the trial call it as an eye-opening study. According to Dr. Sam Abraham, a lecturer in veterinary and medical infectious diseases, it is a wake-up call for all governments and other organizations. Mark O’Dea, a co-author of the study, said most of the researchers study antibiotic resistance in humans and animals. O’Dea added they selected seagulls for the study because it might shed light on something they are missing.