Influenza, Pneumococcal Coinfection Increase Ear Infection Risk

Article

Influenza boosts the ability of pneumococci to cause middle ear and throat infections.

In a study published in Infection and Immunity, researchers from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Wake Forest School of Medicine determined that influenza boosts the ability of pneumococci to cause middle ear and throat infections.

After infecting mice with either influenza alone, pneumococci alone, or both at once, the research team monitored for otitis media development. In doing so, they discovered that influenza enhanced how the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae colonize the nasopharynx, thus infecting the normally sterile middle ear.

“We learned that, once influenza virus is introduced, all of the ‘rules’ regarding phase variants are out the window,” said corresponding author W. Edward Swords, PhD, in a press release. “However, in the presence of influenza, opaque variants can readily colonize the nasopharynx, and transparent variants can persist in the ear. This indicates that the host environs are more permissive for infection by the entire bacterial population.”

Previous research has proven that influenza interferes with innate immunity in a way that permits pneumococci to flourish. In this study, that interference revealed itself as an increase inflammatory response at the mucosal surface in influenza-infected mice.

“As with most pneumococcal infections, it should be appreciated that localized nonlethal infections are much more common than the rapidly lethal presentations. For example, influenza is a contributing factor in…middle ear infections in children,” Dr. Swords continued. “If we can understand why and how viral infection causes bacteria to colonize privileged sites like the middle ear, we will better know what aspects of disease to focus on with preventive or therapeutic treatments.”

Related Videos
cropped view of man performing chest compression on dummy during cpr training class - Image credit: LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS | stock.adobe.com
Medicine law concept. Judges gavel with pills | Image Credit: Iren Moroz - stock.adobe.com
Image credit: New Africa | stock.adobe.com
biosimilar word or concept represented by wooden letter tiles on a wooden table with glasses and a book | Image Credit: lexiconimages - stock.adobe.com
Image credit: alicja neumiler | stock.adobe.com
Laboratory test tubes and solution with stethoscope background | Image Credit: Shutter2U - stock.adobe.com
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot | stock.adobe.com
Pharmacist holding medicine box and capsule pack in pharmacy drugstore. -- Image credit: I Viewfinder | stock.adobe.com
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.