Vagima Y, Gur D, Erez N, Achdout H, Aftalion M, Le. Influenza virus infection augments susceptibility to respiratory Yersinia pestis exposure and impacts the efficacy of antiplague antibiotic treatments. Sci Rep. 2020 Nov 5;10(1):19116
Various respiratory viral infections in general and seasonal influenza in particular may increase the susceptibility to bacterial infections. Plague caused by Yersinia pestis endangers large populations during outbreaks or bioterrorism attacks. Recommended antibiotic countermeasures include well-established protocols based on animal studies and corroborated by effective treatment of human cases. Until now, prior exposure to viral respiratory infections was not taken into consideration when selecting the appropriate treatment for plague. Here, we show that as late as 25 days after exposure to influenza virus, convalescent mice still exhibited an increased susceptibility to sublethal doses of Y. pestis, presented with aberrant cytokine expression, and impaired neutrophil infiltration in the lungs. Increased levels of M2 alveolar macrophages and type II epithelial cells, as well as induction in metalloproteases expression and collagen and laminin degradation, suggested that the previous viral infection was under resolution, correlating with enhanced susceptibility to plague. Surprisingly, postexposure prophylaxis treatment with the recommended drugs revealed that ciprofloxacin was superior to doxycycline in mice recovering from influenza infection. These results suggest that after an influenza infection, the consequences, such as impaired immunity and lung tissue remodeling and damage, should be considered when treating subsequent Y. pestis exposure.
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