Seagulls Are Carrying a Dangerous Superbug Through the Skies
A superbug that’s resistant to the absolutely last-ditch antibiotic colistin has been reported in seagulls on two continents—pinpointing one way, though almost certainly not the only way, that this dangerous drug resistance is moving around the world.
Since last November, when researchers in England and China announced the discovery of bacteria able to survive colistin, there has been an explosion of people looking for that resistance, and finding it. Scientists have published almost 100 reports of colistin resistance—known as MCR and conferred by a gene that’s been dubbed mcr-1—in almost two dozen countries.
It has been found in human patients, including a woman in the United States in May; in livestock, which get the drug on intensive farms, and are probably the original source of