Bacteria and viruses often occupy the same niches, however, interest in their potential collaboration in promoting wellness or disease states has only recently gained traction. While the interaction of some bacteria and viruses is well characterized (e.g., influenza virus), researchers are typically more interested in the location of the infection than the manner of cooperation. There are two overarching types of bacterial-virus disease causing interactions: direct interactions that in some way aid the viruses, and indirect interactions aiding bacteria. The virus-promoting direct interactions occur when the virus exploits a bacterial component to facilitate penetration into the host cell. Conversely, indirect interactions result in increased bacterial pathogenesis as a consequence of viral infection. Enteric viruses mainly utilize the direct pathway, while respiratory viruses largely affect bacteria in an indirect fashion. This review focuses on some key examples of how virus-bacteria interactions impact the infection process across the two organ systems, and provides evidence supporting this as an emerging theme in infectious disease.
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