Superinfections from Staphylococcus aureus following influenza are an increasing concern. We assessed several laboratory and clinical strains in a mouse coinfection model with influenza virus. A methicillin-resistant USA300 clone and several recent clinical strains from patients with necrotizing pneumonia caused high mortality following influenza virus infection in mice. Both viral and bacterial lung titers were enhanced during coinfections compared with single infections. However, differences in titers did not correspond with differences in disease outcomes in a comparison of superinfections from a highly pathogenic strain with those from a poorly pathogenic strain. These strains did differ, however, in expression of Panton-Valentine leukocidin and in the degree of inflammatory lung damage each engendered. The viral cytotoxin PB1-F2 contributed to the negative outcomes. These data suggest that additional study of specific bacterial virulence factors involved in the pathogenesis of inflammation and lung damage during coinfections is needed.
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