One has to be very careful in taking good care of their health as this news appears to provide insights about peril bacterial infections like bronchitis or pneumonia. A Yale School of Medicine study divulges that the flu seems to be the reason for a complete repression of the body’s innate immune response. While essential to avert an unnecessary and maybe deadly inflammatory response, the immune suppression could decrease the body’s capability to drive away secondary bacterial infections.
While several studies have concentrated on how our body’s immune system shields us from a single pathogen like the flu virus, it is apparently indistinct how this reaction may change the body’s capability to react to a second infectious agent like bacteria. To examine what takes place in co-infection, concurrent infection with numerous pathogens, the Yale scientists supposedly contaminated one group of mice first with the influenza virus, and numerous days afterward with bacteria. A second control group was apparently infected simply with bacteria.
The team discovered that the bacteria-fighting inborn immune systems could be more acutely compromised in the mice that had been supposedly contaminated with the flu virus as compared to those infected merely by bacteria.
Lead author Ruslan Medzhitov, Ph.D., professor of immunobiology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, commented, “The virulence of the flu had somehow weakened the body’s ability to fight off further infection. We know in humans that this kind of secondary bacterial infection is what most often can kill flu patients.”
Additional study appears to have disclosed the means for this repression of the immune system. The team discovered that lung impairment from the viral infection had activated a continued augment in serum glucocorticoid levels. Glucocorticoids are said to generated by the adrenal glands during episodes of psychological and physiological stress and hold back the inflammatory and immune responses. This process may be helpful, even life-saving in the case of influenza infection, since it averts unnecessary inflammation that may be lethal.
But the paradox is that it may also counteract the arms required by the systemic immune system to repel secondary bacterial infection.
The study was published in Cell Host and Microbe.