UM study warns of E. coli on the beach
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- Beachgoers beware: There's now evidence seagulls may be spreading a sickening bacteria.
The high-flying birds may be dropping a serious health hazard on our beaches.
A study by the University of Miami's school of medicine has found that stool samples from seagulls may be spreading the stomach-churning E. coli bacteria. "We thought, well, Miami Beach has a ton of seagulls," said UM's Dr. Silvia Munoz-Price, "and I remember going to the beach, and I wondered if these seagulls were contaminated."
Munoz-Price led the one-month study, collecting samples within three different locations on South Beach. The results? Staggering: 14 percent of the samples tested positive for E. coli.
The same strain, doctors determined, has caused urinary tract infections in humans. "What we found in the seagulls is the same gene that produces these antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections in women all over the world."
As the study continues, doctors recommend if you plan to hit the beach this summer, always clean off after hitting the sand. "Something we can say that is relatively easy to do is just to take a shower while at the beach with those public showers," said Munoz-Price.
This is not the first time a study has found a link between antibiotic-resistant bacteria, beaches and beach birds. In fact, experts said, this is a worldwide phenomenon. Birds can pick up the bacteria by drinking contaminated water or picking through garbage.
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