Meeting Abstract

60.1  Saturday, Jan. 5  Consequence of co-infection for survival: immunity and disease persistence GORSICH, EE*; EZENWA, VO; JOLLES, AE; Oregon State University eringorsich@gmail.com

In natural populations, hosts are infected with many, simultaneous infections, presenting a strong selection pressure on the host immune system. We studied brucellosis and intestinal parasite co-infections in a free-ranging African buffalo population during an experimental worm-removal study. Survival analysis shows that worm removal decreases mortality in buffalo co-infected with brucellosis but does not affect mortality in brucellosis negative buffalo. One hypothesis to explain this pattern is that co-infection with intestinal parasites affects the hosts’ immunological response to brucellosis infection, thereby altering disease progression or persistence. In this talk, I test this hypothesis by examining two proxies for immunity, lymphocyte proliferation and cytokine levels, throughout chronic brucellosis infection.