A large proportion of people with latent tuberculosis live in malaria-endemic areas, so co-infection with these two organisms is likely to be common. To determine whether there might be a biologic interaction between these two pathogens in vivo, we infected mice with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and then with a non-lethal strain of Plasmodium yoelii eight weeks later. Mice chronically infected with M. tuberculosis simulate the equilibrium between pathogen and host thought to exist in human latent infection. Co-infected mice were less able to contain growth of M. tuberculosis in lung, spleen, and liver (mean ± SEM log10 colony-forming units = 5.50 ± 0.11 versus 5.12 ± 0.08, 4.58 ± 0.07 versus 4.13 ± 0.10, and 2.86 ± 0.10 versus 2.49 ± 0.10, respectively) and had increased mortality. In populations where both diseases are endemic, there may be implications for increased incidence of clinically detectable tuberculosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases