Parasitic worm infections increase susceptibility to AIDS viruses

Jul 23, 2008

Persons infected with schistosomes, and possibly other parasitic worm infections, may be more likely to become infected with HIV than persons without worm infections, according to a study published July 23rd in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, United States) and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School (Boston, United States) found that the infectious dose of an HIV-like virus necessary to infect rhesus macaques was 17-fold lower in animals with acute schistosomiasis than in controls.

The study represents a novel in vivo demonstration that parasitic worms increase a host's susceptibility to becoming infected with an AIDS-causing virus. The macaques co-infected with Schistosoma mansoni also demonstrated higher peak viral loads and higher memory cell concentrations of virus, both predictors of more rapid progression to AIDS. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that persons living in areas highly endemic for parasitic worms may also have a higher risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS.

Previous studies by this and other research groups have demonstrated that presence of schistosome infections increases viral replication in animal or human hosts with established immunodeficiency virus infections. The earlier findings, combined with the increased susceptibility to AIDS virus transmission shown in this study, may have profound public health implications for areas of the world where both parasitic worms and HIV-1 are endemic.

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: UN chief: Ebola cases in Mali a 'deep concern'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Viruses impaired if their targets have diverse genes

Nov 18, 2014

When a viral infection spread through five genetically identical mice in a row, the virus replicated faster and became more virulent or severe. But when the infection spread one-by-one through five genetically ...

Mosquito-feeding study may help stem dangerous viruses

Nov 06, 2014

Mosquitoes bite male birds nearly twice as often as they bite females, a finding that may help scientists understand how to stem some viruses from spreading to humans, new University of Florida research shows.

Recommended for you

UN chief: Ebola cases in Mali a 'deep concern'

2 hours ago

The United Nations chief warned Friday that Ebola may be easing in part of West Africa but is still hitting hard in other areas and outpacing the international response.

Ebola death toll rises to 5,459: WHO

8 hours ago

The World Health Organization said Friday that 5,459 people had so far died of Ebola out of a total 15,351 cases of infection in eight countries since late December 2013.

Flu season off to a slow start ... for now

11 hours ago

(HealthDay)—This year's flu season is off to a slow but detectable start. And it appears to be a typical one that's likely to peak in January or February, a leading U.S. health official says.

User comments : 0

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.