While squawking seagulls are a fixture on Aussie beaches and there's always a risk they could ruin your fish and chips lunch, new research shows they could actually be putting our health at risk.
The scientists who performed the evaluation on behalf of Murdoch College in Perth have acknowledged it's "stare-opening", The Guardian reported.
Seagulls at some level of Australia are carrying superbugs resistant to antibiotics, scientists stutter.
Silver gulls are carrying bacteria corresponding to E. coli, that could perhaps also cause urinary tract infections, sepsis and blood infections.
"These are bacteria that reside in [the] human gut, and we think that the seagulls are getting in touch with human feces somehow through sewage, or through nappies or incontinence pads from nursing homes and probably through the waste dumps where these seagulls go and scavenge", he said.
"Seagulls act as ecological sponges (bio-accumulators) and we have earmarked them as a potential reservoir for agents that may cause human disease", lead researcher Dr Sam Abraham said in a statement. The study found that more than 20 per cent of seagulls tested around Australia carried bacteria that were resistant to commonly used antimicrobial medication including cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones.
One sample confirmed resistance to carbapenem, which is a final-resort drug outdated for severe and high-probability infections.
"Humans are now transmitting their pathogens to commensal wildlife around Australia's major cities and these drug resistant microbes are likely to be returned with interest through contaminated surfaces, water and food", Dr Dunlop said.
People fear that the antibiotic resistant bacteria which has recently hit hospitals could in return have adversaries on human and other animal population.