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Monitor seagulls with GPS to measure the risk of transmission of bacteria and viruses

They are carriers of & quot; Salmonella & quot; and & # 39; Campylobacter & # 39 ;, causing you to over 340,000 infections in Europe in 2016


Scientists from the Institute of Marine Sciences of Barcelona (ICM-CSIC) and Doñana's Biological Station (EBD-CSIC) have studied space movements in various people of yellow leggings (Larus michahellis & # 39;) in the southern peninsula Iberian, because these people's public health can affect carriers of pathogens (bacteria and viruses). The way in which these species have distributed them has not been known so far.

For this reason, copies of seagull have been controlled by at least one of the three main zoonotic bacteria within the epidemiological surveillance plans in Europe (& # 39; Salmonella & # 39; Campylobacter & # 39; 39; and & # 39; Chlamydia & # 39;).

The work, which is published in Scientific Reports, succeeds in obtaining new data at regional level by combining conventional epidemiological diagnostic methods with real-time monitoring with GPS.

According to the CSIC, the incidence of these bacteria is increasing. The infections & # 39; Salmonella & # 39; and & # 39; Campylobacter & # 39; had in 2017 between 94,530 and 246,307 cases in Europe.

The leader of the research, Joan Navarro, a researcher at ICM-CSIC, explains that the yellow pot gold is a good vector, because it acts as a carrier of various pathogens that can be a source of disease for people and what they have learned to exploit sources are associated with human activity. However, it ensures that the methodology can be applied to other types of bearings that exist together with humans, such as pigeons or small mammals.


The results show that the greatest risk of bacterial spread occurs in & nbsp; near the & # 39; saw an investigation. However, some infectious people who traveled from Spain to Portugal were discovered, which, according to the authors, "has an influence on international relevance of sanitary regulation and the need for cooperation in control." of diseases that can be transmitted by wild species, especially in cases of more virulent zoonoses, such as the Nile virus or bird's grip. "

Scientists note that areas with risk propagation overlap with habitats related to human activity, such as water ponds, fishing ports or tourist beaches, a situation which risks the direct and indirect transfer of diseases to and from humans would increase.

Despite the focus on three specific bacteria, the methodology could be used for all other pathogens in which animals are carriers. The study opens up the possibilities of research by combining classical analysis techniques into epidemiology along with real-time monitoring of any type of pathogenic species involved in defining areas of infection risk.

The next step is to develop risk maps of pathogen distribution in urban areas on a very fine scale. This spatial information could be used in epidemiological prevention plans, to be able to identify sensitive points within urban areas and to recommend management measures in these areas.

The approach could be expanded to build an international network that, through the use of seagulls and other potential pathogenic vectors, would provide large-scale zoonotic surveillance to implement prevention measures in sensitive human habitats.

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