Antibiotics-resistant gulls worry scientists

Jun 18, 2009

The resistance pattern for antibiotics in gulls is the same as in humans, and a new study by Uppsala University researchers shows that nearly half of Mediterranean gulls in southern France have some form of resistance to antibiotics. The study is being published today in the journal PLoS One.

Bacteria that develop resistance to antibiotics are one of society’s greatest future threats and are having a major impact on our ability to use various medical treatments. The spread of resistance is no longer a local problem in hospitals; antibiotic-resistant bacteria are also spreading to and throughout the environment.

The research team at the Uppsala University Department of Medical Pathology has studied the occurrence of antibiotics-resistant bacteria in Mediterranean gulls in southern France.

“Gulls have developed behaviors that entail closer and closer contact with us, and opportunities arise for the exchange of bacteria. This is why they are extremely interesting to study,” says Mirva Drobni, who directed the study.

The findings of the study show that nearly half of the birds carry some form of resistance to antibiotics, and a tenth of them carry ESBL-producing bacteria. These bacteria have the capacity to break down some of our most powerful and important antibiotics and furthermore have an ability to spread extremely rapidly. The researchers were able to show that the resistance pattern was the same among gulls and humans, which indicates that human- and bird-borne bacteria and their resistance mechanisms are being mutually exchanged.

“These findings are worrisome as they also indicate a higher degree of resistance in from gulls than we see in humans in the same region. At present we don’t know whether they constitute merely a reservoir for resistance or whether they are moreover a source of further dissemination to humans,” says Mirva Drobni.

Source: Uppsala University (news : web)

Explore further: Drug research and development more efficient than expected

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

High degree of resistance to antibiotics in Arctic birds

Jan 11, 2008

In the latest issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, Swedish researchers report that birds captured in the hyperboreal tundra, in connection with the tundra expedition “Beringia 2005,” were carriers of ant ...

Resistant gut bacteria will not go away by themselves

Jun 19, 2007

E. coli bacteria that have developed resistance to antibiotics will probably still be around even if we stop using antibiotics, as these strains have the same good chance as other bacteria of continuing to colonise the gut, ...

The structure of resistance

Feb 22, 2008

A team of scientists from the University Paris Descartes has solved the structure of two proteins that allow bacteria to gain resistance to multiple types of antibiotics, according to a report in EMBO reports this month. ...

Probing Question: How does antibiotic resistance happen?

Mar 05, 2009

Before Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin in 1928, there were any number of unpleasant ways that bacteria could kill you. Countless women died from infection after childbirth, and a simple chest cold could turn into ...

Recommended for you

Drug research and development more efficient than expected

Feb 27, 2015

Drug R&D costs have increased substantially in recent decades, while the number of new drugs has remained fairly constant, leading to concerns about the sustainability of drug R&D and question about the factors that could ...

Use new meningitis vaccines only for outbreaks

Feb 26, 2015

(AP)—A U.S. panel on Thursday recommended that two new meningitis vaccines only be used for rare outbreaks, resisting tearful pleas to give it routinely to teens and college students.

New antibiotic avycaz approved

Feb 26, 2015

(HealthDay)—The combination antibiotic Avycaz (ceftazidime-avibactam) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat adults with complicated infections of the intra-abdominal area or urinary tract, ...

Tagging drugs to fight counterfeit medicines

Feb 25, 2015

The U.S. and other countries are enacting rules to clamp down on the sales of fake pharmaceuticals, which pose a public health threat. But figuring out a system to track and authenticate legitimate drugs still faces significant ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.