Seagulls may aid spread of E. coli strain that resists ‘last-resort antibiotic’

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According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 2 million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant infections each year, 23,000 of who will die as a result. Now, scientists worry seagulls, a wild bird that has an “enormous migratory reach,” could make matters worse.

Scientists have found a highly drug-resistant form of Escherichia coli in bird droppings they sampled in Lithuania and Argentina. This form of E. coli is marked by the mcr-1 gene, which is what makes it resistant to the powerful, “last-resort antibiotic” called colistin. Study authors believe that the seagulls picked up the superbug after eating sewage or medical waste.

In addition, experts are now starting to see these dangerous bacteria in humans. In May 2016, a 49-year-old woman in Pennsylvania seeking treatment for a urinary tract infection became the first person in the U.S. to become infected with colistin-resistant bacteria. While she has recovered from the infection, she, like the seagulls, is still a carrier for the superbug.

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Read full, original post: Scientists Fear Seagulls Carrying MCR-1 Gene Will Worsen Threat Of Drug-Resistant Superbugs

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