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The significance of wild birds (Larus sp.) in the epidemiology of campylobacter infections in humans

  • C. D. Whelan (a1), P. Monaghan (a2), R. W. A. Girdwood (a1) and C. R. Fricker (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 May 2009

During much of the present century, the population of herring gulls in Britain has increased rapidly (Cramp, Bourne & Saunders, 1973; Chabrzyk & Coulson, 1976; Monaghan & Coulson, 1977). Accompanying this changes was an increased utilization by these birds of human waste as a food supply, particularly sewage and refuse emanating from our towns and cities (Monaghan, 1983; Horton et al. 1983). This, coupled with their habits of roosting on agricultural land and water storage reservoirs and of breeding on inhabited buildings, has given rise to concern over the role of these birds in the spread of disease to man and domestic animals (e.g. Fenlon, 1981; Reilly et al. 1981; Butterfield et al. 1983; Monaghan et al. 1985; Girdwood et al. 1986).

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J. Benjamin , S. Leaper , R. J. Owen & M. B. Skirrow (1983). Description of Campylobacter laridis a new species comprising the nalidixic acid resistant thermophilic campylobacter (NARTC) group. Current Microbiology 8, 231238.

F. J. Bolton , D. Coates , D. N. Hutchinson & A. F. Godfree (1987). A study of thermophilic campylobacters in a river system. Journal of Applied Bacteriology 62, 167176.

G. Chabrzyk & J. C. Coulson (1976). Survival and recruitment in the herring gull Larus argentatus. Journal of Animal Ecology 45, 187203.

J. C. Coulson , C. S. Thomas , J. E. L. Butterfield , N. Duncan , P. Monagiian & C. Shedden (1983). The use of head and bill length to sex live gulls (Laridae). Ibis 125, 549557.

N. Horton , T. Brough & J. B. A. Rochard (1983). The importance of refuse tips to gulls wintering in an inland area of south–east England. Journal of Applied Ecology 20, 751765.

D. M. Jones , J. D. Abbott , M. J. Painter & E. M. Sutcliffe (1984). A comparison of biotypes and serotypes of Campylobacter spp. isolated from patients with enteritis and from animal and environmental sources. Journal of Infection 9, 5158.

M. A. Karmali , J. L. Penner , P. C. Fleming , A. Williams & J. N. Hennessy (1983). The serotype and biotype distribution of clinical isolates of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli over a three year period. Journal of Infectious Diseases 147, 243246.

P. Monaghan & J. C. Coulson (1977). Status of large gulls nesting on buildings. Bird Study 24, 89104.

W. J. Reilly , G. I. Forbes , G. M. Paterson & J. C. M. Sharp (1981). Human and animal salmonellosis in Scotland associated with environmental contamination, 1973–1979. Veterinary Record 108, 553555.

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Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
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