Scavenger seagulls carry superbugs
Tuesday 21 September 2010
Seagulls from a species that feeds on garbage are harbouring drug-resistant superbugs, a study has found.
Researchers analysed 57 samples of droppings from the yellow-legged gull Larus cachinnans. They found that one in 10 carried superbug bacteria resistant to the "last resort" antibiotic vancomycin, which is used when most others have failed.
The white and grey birds are scavenging omnivores and opportunistic marine feeders. They can often be seen flocking on rubbish tips, and are common in many southern parts of the UK. Scientists collected the samples from an island off the Portuguese coast.
Lead researcher Dr Gilberto Igrejas, from the University of Tras-os-Montes and Alto Douro in Portugal, said: "We used a novel technique called proteomics to detect the maximum number of bacterial proteins which are thought to be connected in some, as yet unknown, way to antibiotic resistance.
"Migrating birds that fly and travel long distances can act as transporters, or as reservoirs, of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and may consequently have a significant epidemiological role in the dissemination of resistance."
The research is published in the online journal Proteome Science.
Sun to experience solar activity similar to that of 'Little Ice Age' hundreds of years ago
Mammoth ivory trade: Should the prehistoric species be protected – to save the elephant?
Pope Francis calls for a new system of global government to tackle climate change
Nasa says sea levels have risen faster than thought due to climate change
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
- 1 Barbarians vs Samoa interrupted by sprinklers as fans criticise lack of Wi-Fi and poor seating at West Ham's Olympic Stadium
- 2 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 3 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
- 4 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
- 5 David De Gea to Real Madrid: Real finally get their man with £29m bid for Manchester United goalkeeper
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says jobless migrants should be banned from entering the UK
£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...
£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...
£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...