JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Strongyloides stercoralis in the Immunocompromised Population

Paul B Keiser, Thomas B Nutman
Clinical Microbiology Reviews 2004, 17 (1): 208-17
14726461
Strongyloides stercoralis is an intestinal nematode of humans that infects tens of millions of people worldwide. S. stercoralis is unique among intestinal nematodes in its ability to complete its life cycle within the host through an asexual autoinfective cycle, allowing the infection to persist in the host indefinitely. Under some conditions associated with immunocompromise, this autoinfective cycle can become amplified into a potentially fatal hyperinfection syndrome, characterized by increased numbers of infective filariform larvae in stool and sputum and clinical manifestations of the increased parasite burden and migration, such as gastrointestinal bleeding and respiratory distress. S. stercoralis hyperinfection is often accompanied by sepsis or meningitis with enteric organisms. Glucocorticoid treatment and human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 infection are the two conditions most specifically associated with triggering hyperinfection, but cases have been reported in association with hematologic malignancy, malnutrition, and AIDS. Anthelmintic agents such as ivermectin have been used successfully in treating the hyperinfection syndrome as well as for primary and secondary prevention of hyperinfection in patients whose exposure history and underlying condition put them at increased risk.

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