Worm infestation in intestine has a remote effect on viral defenses

Infection with parasitic intestinal worms (helminths) can apparently cause sexually transmitted viral in-fections to be much more severe elsewhere in the body. This is shown by a study led by the Universities of Cape Town and Bonn. According to the study, helminth-infected mice developed significantly more severe symptoms after infection with a genital herpes viruses (Herpes Simplex Virus). The researchers suspect that these results can also be transferred to humans. The results have now appeared in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.

In sub-Saharan Africa, both worm infections and sexually transmitted viral diseases are extremely com-mon. These viral infections are also often particularly severe. It is possible that these findings are related. At least, this is the conclusion suggested by the current findings from mice.

Alisha Chetty et al: Il4ra -independent vaginal eosinophil accumulation following helminth infection exac-erbates epithelial ulcerative pathology following HSV-2 infection. Cell Host & Microbe,

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Section from the genital tract of a female mouse. The immune messenger Interleukin-33 indirectly ensures the maturation of granulocytes. © Pia Vornewald (CEMIR, IKOM, NTNU; Trondheim, Norway)