• antibiotics;
  • Escherichia coli;
  • gulls;
  • integrons;
  • resistance


Aims:  To carry out an assessment of the occurrence of resistance to antimicrobials in Escherichia coli that has been isolated from young Black-headed Gulls in three nesting colonies.

Methods and Results:  A total of 257 isolates were tested for sensitivity to eight antibacterial substances by disk diffusion method. The polymerase chain reaction was used for detecting specific genes of antibacterial resistance and class 1 integrons in resistant E. coli isolates. A total 75 (29·9%) of 257 isolates were resistant to one or more antimicrobial agents. The dominant type of resistance was to tetracycline, detected in 49 (19·1%) isolates. Resistance to ampicillin was detected in 30 (11·7%), cephalothin in 11 (4·3%), streptomycin in 24 (9·3%), sulphonamides in 20 (7·8%) and chloramphenicol in 5 (1·9%) isolates. Nine isolates carrying integrons were detected.

Conclusions:  The study suggests that young Black-headed Gulls are an important host reservoir of resistant E. coli strains, probably reflecting the presence of such strains in their sources of food and/or water.

Significance and Impact of the Study:  Although Black-headed Gulls do not naturally come into contact with antibiotics, these birds can be infected with resistant E. coli and potentially serve as their reservoirs, vectors and bioindicators in the environment.