Contact Us | Patient Portal | Search:
Printer Friendly VersionEmail A FriendAdd ThisIncrease Text SizeDecrease Text Size

Strongyloidiasis

 

Definition

Strongyloidiasis is infection with the roundworm Strongyloides stercoralis (S. stercoralis).

Causes

S. stercoralis is a roundworm that is fairly common in warm, moist areas. Rarely, it can be found as far north as Canada.

People catch the infection when they come in contact with soil contaminated with the worms.

The tiny worm is barely visible to the naked eye. Young roundworms can move through a person's skin and into the bloodstream to the lungs and airways. As the worms grow older, they bury themselves in the walls of the intestines. Later, they produce eggs in the intestines. Areas where the worms go through the skin may become red and painful.

This infection is uncommon in the United States. Most cases seen in North America are brought by travelers who have visited or lived in South America or Africa.

Symptoms

Most of the time, there are no symptoms.

If there are symptoms, they may include:

Signs and tests

The following tests may be done:

  • Blood antigen test for S. stercoralis
  • Complete blood count with differential
  • Duodenal aspiration to check for S. stercoralis
  • Sputum culture to check for S. stercoralis
  • Stool sample exam to check for S. stercoralis
Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

Full recovery with eradication of parasites is expected with adequate treatment. Sometimes treatment needs to be repeated.

Infections that are widespread often have a poor outcome, especially in people with weakened immune systems.

Calling your health care provider

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have symptoms of strongyloidiasis.

Complications
  • Acute pulmonary eosinophilia (Loeffler's syndrome)
  • Disseminated strongyloidiasis, especially in patients with HIV or an otherwise compromised immune system
  • Malnutrition due to problems absorbing nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract (malabsorption)
Treatments

The goal of treatment is to eliminate the worms with anti-worm medications such as ivermectin.

In some cases, such as in those who will be taking immunosuppressive drugs, people with no symptoms are treated.

Prevention

Good personal hygiene can reduce the risk of strongyloidiasis. Adequate public health services and sanitary facilities provide good control of infection.

References
Kazura JW. Nematode infections. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 378.

Review Date: 12/3/2008
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2009 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
MAIMONIDES
MEDICAL CENTER


Home Page
Why Choose Us
Donations
Website Terms of Use
PATIENT
INFORMATION


Visitor & Patient Info
Patient Portal
We Speak Your Language
Patient Privacy
Contact Us
KEY
INFORMATION


Find a Physician
Medical Services
Maimonides In the News
Directions & Parking
FOR HEALTH
PROFESSIONALS


Medical Education
Career Opportunities
Nurses & Physicians
Staff Intranet Access
Maimonides Medical Center    |    4802 Tenth Avenue    |    Brooklyn, NY 11219    |    718.283.6000    |