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Definition Return to top
Strongyloidiasis is infection with the roundworm Strongyloides stercoralis (S. stercoralis).
Causes Return to top
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 Return to top
Most of the time, there are no symptoms.
If there are symptoms, they may include:
Exams and Tests Return to top
The following tests may be done:
Treatment Return to top
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.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
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.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have symptoms of strongyloidiasis.
Prevention Return to top
Good personal hygiene can reduce the risk of strongyloidiasis. Adequate public health services and sanitary facilities provide good control of infection.
References Return to topKazura JW. Nematode infections. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 378. Update Date: 12/3/2008 Updated 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.