The role of wildlife with long-range dispersal such as gulls in the global dissemination of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) across natural and anthropogenic aquatic environments remains poorly understood. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been detected in resident and migratory gulls worldwide for more than a decade, suggesting gulls as either sentinels of AMR pollution from anthropogenic sources or independent reservoirs that could maintain and disperse AMR across aquatic environments. However, confirming either of these roles remains challenging and incomplete. In this review, we present current knowledge on the geographic regions where AMR has been detected in gulls, the molecular characterization of resistance genes, and the evidence supporting the capacity of gulls to disperse AMR across regions or countries. We identify several limitations of current research to assess the role of gulls in the spread of AMR including most studies not identifying the source of AMR, few studies comparing bacteria isolated in gulls with other wild or domestic species, and almost no study performing longitudinal sampling over a large period of time to assess the maintenance and dispersion of AMR by gulls within and across regions. We suggest future research required to confirm the role of gulls in the global dispersion of AMR including the standardization of sampling protocols, longitudinal sampling using advanced satellite tracking, and whole-genome sequencing typing. Finally, we discuss the public health implications of the spread of AMR by gulls and potential solutions to limit its spread in aquatic environments.
Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus
- Microbiología (médica)