What do seagull droppings and resistant bacteria have to do with each other? It turns out quite a bit.
Researchers in Paris, who for some unknown reason, freely chose to study seagull feces, found that a significant number-about 8%-harbored resistant E coli. They collected their specimens on Miami beaches (ok, maybe that’s why some Paris based researcher would want to study bird feces. Geeze-I could fly to Miami, instead of suffering through yet another dreary Paris winter.)
What this means is that seagulls could contribute greatly to the spread of drug resistant bacteria. These dudes fly all over- I mean all over- the world, leaving souvenirs at just about every location. Of course, on a beach where children are busy building those sand castles. Unbeknownst to the kids and their parents, the sand castles contain more than just sand. The little guys touch everything and everyone and voila! the bacteria are now in your burgers, which you just barbecued!
It would be tempting to say that these seagulls acquired the drug resistant bacteria from say waters contaminated with the urine of all those millions of people taking antibiotics. However, this connection remains to be proven.
Also unknown is whether these birds can transmit the bacteria to other species-ie humans. Yet this is not the only place where seagull feces have been studied. The very same researchers, who it seems have a thing for seagull feces, traveled to a Portugal coastal city called Porto (also not a bad place to vacation) where they found similar drug resistant bacteria.
Given these results, should we all avoid Miami and Portugal? Well, unfortunately seagulls travel hundreds of miles, so you might have to also include Cancun, Malibu and even Hawaii on that list. To make matters worse, pigeons, a species not particularly known for an absence of droppings, also carry the bacteria.
I wouldn’t be surprised if these researchers continue on their quest-perhaps onward to the Costa Brava of Spain. However, I suspect that you won’t find any plans to study the gulls in such places as Norway, where the winters are even colder than Paris.