Australian gulls found to carry antibiotic-resistant superbugs

Australian gulls are carrying superbugs resistant to antibiotics, raising fears that disease-causing bacteria may spread from the birds to humans, livestock and pets.

A team of scientists led by researchers at Perth’s Murdoch University found more than 20% of silver gulls nationwide were carrying pathogenic bacteria, such as E coli, that are resistant to drugs. E coli can cause urinary tract infections, life-threatening sepsis and meningitis.

Dr Sam Abraham, a lecturer in veterinary and medical infectious diseases at the university, said the “eye-opening” study should be a wake-up call for Australian governments.