x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Bacterial infection strikes 10 falcons

The bacteria is also dangerous to humans and was found in every UAE hospital, with a high resistance to antibiotics.

ABU DHABI // Ten falcons have been treated at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital after becoming infected with the potentially deadly Acinetobacter baumannii bacterium, the state news agency, WAM, reported.

The 10 falcons were among 29 that were brought to the hospital between May 2007 and April 2009, according to Margit Gabriele Muller, the director of the facility.

Ms Muller said the discovery of the disease in falcons was announced in an article published in April by the journal Veterinary Medicine International.

A baumannii, which affects humans and falcons, was known to survive for long periods of time, Ms Muller said.

The bacteria were nicknamed "Iraqibacter" after affecting a number of US troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Last year, researchers from UAE University found that in every UAE hospital studied, A baumannii bacteria were present and resistant to antibiotics at a rate "very high by all international comparison".

In humans, the bacteria cause pneumonia and serious blood and wound infections, and are especially dangerous for burns victims or anyone with a weakened immune system, chronic lung disease or diabetes.

It is not known, however, whether the disease can be transmitted from falcons to humans. Ms Muller said falcons with A baumannii should be quarantined.