Gulls carry antibiotic-resistant pathogens

Antibiotic-resistant pathogens found in seagulls

The growing resistance of bacterial strains to antibiotics is a major threat to humanity as it is increasingly recognized that pathogens are resistant to most forms of antibiotics. Researchers have now discovered that gulls carry what are known as antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

The recent study by Murdoch University found that in Australia, gulls carry a variety of bacteria that are resistant to many forms of antibiotics. The results of the study were published in the journal "Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy".

The researchers found that in Australia, gulls carry pathogens resistant to various forms of antibiotics. (Image: Alexander Raths /

How pathogens have been found?

For example, the herring gulls studied carry bacteria such as E. coli, which can cause urinary tract infections, sepsis and bloodstream infections. The research leads to the fear that antibiotic-resistant bacteria, similar to the so-called super-pathogens, which are found more and more in hospitals, can infect humans and other animals.

Where do the pathogens come from?

Birds are thought to have been contaminated with waste and sewage contaminated with pathogens. The researchers said the results of the study should draw public attention to the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant agents. Governments and authorities should react and focus on water treatment and waste management to find a solution to this problem.

Is there a risk of infection for humans?

People can become infected with a dangerous bacteria when they come into contact with gull faeces. The risk of such an infection is considered low if the people concerned then wash their hands after contact with the feces.

Against which antibiotics were the bacteria resistant?

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


  • Shevli Mukerji, Marc Stegger, Alec Vincent Truswell, Tanya Laird, David Jordan, and others: Critical antimicrobial resistance in Australian herring gulls (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae) and evidence of anthropogenic origin, in Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy