An innate immune response to viral infection can kill white blood cells needed to fight off bacteria, according to a study published online this week in PNAS. This effect could explain why bacterial "superinfections" can take hold in the body more easily when a viral pathogen is already present, the study authors say."Viral-bacterial synergism is something that is a significant clinical issue in both human and veterinary medicine and we don't have a detailed understanding of what's going on," said Charles Czuprynski of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, who was not involved in the study.Researchers led by Alexander A. Navarini and Mike Recher of the University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland examined superinfection in mice by first infecting them with an RNA virus called lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) and then with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Three days later, the mice infected with both pathogens showed 1000 times...

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