Study finds that seagulls can act as a reservoir for Multi Drug Resistant Bacteria
‘A recent academic study led by researchers at the University of Liverpool and published in the Microbial Drug Resistance journal, looked into urban gulls acting as a reservoir and spreading antimicrobial resistant bacteria in the environment. This study has identified that urban seagulls in the UK are colonised and can spread major antimicrobial resistant Escherichia coli strains including some which have clinical relevance for public health. Increasing gull populations in urban environments pose various public health concerns and understanding any role that urban gulls may have could be important for reducing disease transmission. In this study, faecal samples from established urban gull populations (Taunton and Birmingham) were investigated from two species of gull – herring and lesser black-backed. The data showed that antimicrobial resistant E.coli was present in half of the samples investigated, including isolates belonging to a virulent and multidrug-resistant pandemic E. coli strain (B2-ST131). A particular lineage of this clone (C1-M27) was identified in this work for the first time in the wildlife in the UK and in seagulls worldwide. Previous studies have documented that gull species are important bio-indicators of environmental contamination regarding antimicrobial resistance, especially associated with surface water and coastal areas, from where they can acquire and/or release into resistant organisms.
In conclusion, this study shows that urbanised gulls in the UK can spread and act as reservoirs of multi-drug-resistant bacteria. This will inform development of policies designed to control gull populations.’
An abstract of the paper can be found at:
Credits to co-author of article: Simon Moon, Somerset West and Taunton Council, Environmental Health, Taunton, United Kingdom.