Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Caspian Gulls - The New Birdflu

The BBC are carrying a story today that is sure to be picked up on by the 'popular' press and whipped up into the next big health scare. Portugese researchers analysed a very small sample of droppings from 'Caspian Gulls' and found one in ten harboured antibitotic resistant bacteria called vancomycin.
The speculation, as that is what it is, is that these 'migratory' birds pass on the anti-biotic resistance to other bacteria that might infect the weak and vulnerable (Daily Mail readers presumably?)

I'm not altogether sure that they don't mean michahellis as they would be the much more obvious study choice in Portugal, in which case whilst the rest of the country can panic the North East is at least safe as we only get two per annum. The Mail, bless their cotton socks, are at least calling it Yellow-legged Gull, but apparently they aren't just ordinary bacteria, no since I started writing this post they've evolved into superbugs.
How long before the first call for a cull goes out? DEFRA are allegedly studying the report with interest, I sense a risk assessment.

sources
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11374536
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1313848/Seagulls-carrying-superbugs-resistant-antibiotics.html?ITO=1490

3 comments:

thedrunkbirder said...

The normally sensible Independent weighs in with this load of shite! http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/scavenger-seagulls-carry-superbugs-2084741.html

It would be interesting to see DEFRA try and ID Caspian Gull given that, as the Llama says, birders can't usually be arsed with them.

James said...

I must remember not to bother prescribing them any vancomycin then! See the odd one in Bedfordshire when I visit the in-laws.

Earl Gray or Dave for short! said...

And don't forget John, you need three people to see a Caspian Gull in Vc55!