Treating infection may have sting in the tail, parasite study shows

Using drugs to treat an infection could allow other co-existing conditions to flourish, a study in wild animals has shown.

Researchers studying wild mice – which typically carry multiple at once – found that when these animals were treated for one type of bug, other infections they had tended to worsen.

The findings suggest that infections that co-exist in our bodies can compete with each other to alter disease. Treating one infection may have unintended consequences by enabling others to gain a stronger foothold – perhaps to the overall detriment of our health.

Scientists from the University of Edinburgh treated wild wood mice for a gut over several weeks. During treatment, researchers monitored levels not only of the worm, but also tested the animals for dozens of other common parasite infections. During treatment, levels of the gut worm fell, but levels of other in the gut increased.

The study is the first of its type to show that multiple infections in can compete with one another, and that treating one infection can directly impact on others that may be present.

The study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, was carried out in collaboration with The University of Liverpool and supported by the Natural Environment Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.

Dr Amy Pedersen, of the University of Edinburgh's School of , who led the study, said: "In nature, infections rarely occur by themselves, and this study shows for the first time that treating infections in isolation can have knock-on effects for other diseases that may be present. More work is needed to understand the effect of drug treatment for disease where individuals are prone to, or likely to be carrying a range of infections."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Recorded Ebola deaths top 7,000

12 minutes ago

The worst Ebola outbreak on record has now killed more than 7,000 people, with many of the latest deaths reported in Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization said as United Nations Secretary-General Ban ...

Liberia holds Senate vote amid Ebola fears (Update)

4 hours ago

Health workers manned polling stations across Liberia on Saturday as voters cast their ballots in a twice-delayed Senate election that has been criticized for its potential to spread the deadly Ebola disease.

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

Dec 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

Dec 19, 2014

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

Dec 19, 2014

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.