Disseminated strongyloidiasis: a retrospective study of clinical course and outcome

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2006 Jan;25(1):14-8. doi: 10.1007/s10096-005-0070-2.


A retrospective study was carried out to evaluate the clinical course and outcome of disseminated strongyloidiasis treated in a regional hospital in Hong Kong over a 10-year period. Seven cases were identified, and the case history of each patient was analysed. The most common presenting symptom was fever (100%). Five (71%) patients had gastrointestinal symptoms, the most common being abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Three (42%) patients had a significant drop in haemoglobin. Six (85%) patients had bronchoalveolar infiltrates on chest radiographs. Most patients were immunosuppressed by means of steroid treatment for their underlying primary disease. One patient was diabetic, and another had lymphoma and was receiving chemotherapy. Strongyloides larvae were identified in stool specimens in two patients, in sputum smears in two patients, and in gastric biopsies in three patients. Five (71%) of the patients with lung involvement progressed to respiratory failure and died. Two (29%) cases were complicated by gram-negative bacterial infection. No patient had eosinophilia on presentation. All patients received antihelminthic treatment of variable duration. The case fatality rate in the cohort was 71% despite aggressive supportive therapy. Pulmonary and bowel symptoms were prominent in our series. In conclusion, the diagnosis of disseminated strongyloidiasis is often delayed because of nonspecific presenting symptoms. Early diagnosis relies on a high index of clinical suspicion, especially in immunocompromised hosts. Screening for Strongyloides infection before the initiation of immunosuppressive therapy should be considered, especially in endemic areas.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Diabetes Complications
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / complications
  • Lymphoma / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrotic Syndrome / complications
  • Polyarteritis Nodosa / complications
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / complications
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Strongyloides stercoralis / isolation & purification
  • Strongyloides stercoralis / pathogenicity*
  • Strongyloidiasis / complications
  • Strongyloidiasis / diagnosis
  • Strongyloidiasis / mortality
  • Strongyloidiasis / pathology*
  • Treatment Outcome