Clinical presentation and diagnostic sensitivity of laboratory tests for Strongyloides stercoralis in travellers compared with immigrants in a non-endemic country

Trop Med Int Health. 2003 Aug;8(8):728-32. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-3156.2003.01069.x.


Objectives: To assess whether the clinical and laboratory methods for diagnosing Strongyloides stercoralis infection in non-endemic countries is different between those who are chronically exposed and those who travel.

Methods: Analysis of laboratory and clinical data from 204 patients having S. stercoralis infection at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, London.

Results: Sixty-four travellers and 128 immigrants from endemic countries had laboratory-proven strongyloides. In those with microscopically proven disease, serology was 73% sensitive in travellers and 98% sensitive in immigrants (P < 0.001). There was no difference in the eosinophil count between the two groups with 19% having a normal count. Patterns of symptoms varied between the groups, and around one-third were asymptomatic in both groups. Serology was of limited use in follow-up.

Conclusions: Eosinophil count and stool microscopy are insufficiently sensitive to be used alone for screening strongyloides. The sensitivity of serology is good in immigrants with chronic infection, but lower in travellers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease
  • Emigration and Immigration*
  • Eosinophils / pathology
  • Feces / parasitology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parasite Egg Count
  • Parasitology / methods
  • Serologic Tests
  • Strongyloides stercoralis*
  • Strongyloidiasis / diagnosis*
  • Travel*