We investigated the potential role of Antarctic tourism in the introduction of human-associated pathogens into Antarctic wildlife. We collected and analyzed 233 fecal samples from eight bird species. The samples were collected at six localities on the Antarctic Peninsula, which often is visited by tourists. Every sample was investigated for pathogens of potential human origin: Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella spp., and Yersina spp. None of these bacteria was found. Our data suggest that the tourism industry so far has achieved its goal of not introducing pathogens into the Antarctic region. There is, however, an urgent need to further investigate the situation in areas closer to permanent Antarctic settlements.
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Vol. 34 • No. 6