The problem with a disease like malaria is the commonness of the condition and its high intensity. Every second day we read the newspaper only to find the number of malaria patients increasing. In such a scenario, scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine have revealed a link between malaria and salmonella infections.
The team believed that malaria patients are at higher risk of encountering salmonella infections. According to the experts, one reason for this could be the immunosuppression mechanism of the malaria parasite. This process apparently led to the thorough weakening of the immune system.
Professor Eleanor Riley, one of the lead authors of the study, quoted, “It is a widespread belief that malaria is an immunosuppressive disease; that once the disease is contracted, the patient will be susceptible to several other infections because of a compromised immune system. However, this study shows that increased susceptibility to salmonella infections is due to a very specific immunological effect which does not affect the immune system as a whole.”
However, there may be positive side to it as the investigators found that increased susceptibility to salmonella infections was a result of the body’s efforts to resist the damages caused by the malaria pathogen. In medical terms, this process is similar to a trade-off where attempts to sever ties from one infectious agent exposed the body to other bacteria.
In this analysis, the team put forward an association between malaria and non-typhoid salmonella (NTS) infections which is dangerous for children. Usually kids suffering from malaria put themselves at risk of developing NTS afflictions. This situation is responsible for approximately 25% death instances seen in children suffering from malaria.
According to professionals, malaria supposedly caused bursting of red blood cells which exposed the patient’s body to the parasite’s offspring as well a toxin called heme. The latter appeared to target the immune system objectively and degrade it. The white cell production is dampened in the process and the cells are unable to combat NTS inflictions thereafter. This is how the disease spread, as observed in a set of malaria-infected mice.
In the research, the investigators stumbled upon Tin Protoporphyrin (SnPP) as an avenue to counter salmonella infections, but they believed that precise testing is required before SnPP could be used in humans. The scientists concluded that more analyses to comprehend the link between malaria and salmonella are required to achieve effective remedies for the same.
The study is published in the journal, Nature Medicine.