JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Diagnosis of Strongyloides stercoralis infection

A A Siddiqui, S L Berk
Clinical Infectious Diseases: An Official Publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America 2001 October 1, 33 (7): 1040-7
11528578
Strongyloides stercoralis infects 30 million people in 70 countries. Infection usually results in asymptomatic chronic disease of the gut, which can remain undetected for decades. However, in patients receiving long-term corticosteroid therapy, hyperinfection can occur, resulting in high mortality rates (up to 87%). Strongyloidiasis is difficult to diagnose because the parasite load is low and the larval output is irregular. Results of a single stool examination by use of conventional techniques fail to detect larvae in up to 70% of cases. Several immunodiagnostic assays have been found ineffective in detecting disseminated infections and show extensive cross-reactivity with hookworms, filariae, and schistosomes. Although it is important to detect latent S. stercoralis infections before administering chemotherapy or before the onset of immunosuppression in patients at risk, a specific and sensitive diagnostic test is lacking. This review describes the clinical manifestations of strongyloidiasis, as well as various diagnostic tests and treatment strategies.

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