The Worm that Clogs the Lungs: Strongyloides Hyper-Infection Leading to Fatal Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

Am J Case Rep. 2019 Mar 22;20:377-380. doi: 10.12659/AJCR.914640.


BACKGROUND Strongyloides stercoralis is an intestinal helminth. Parasitism is caused by penetration of the larvae through the skin. It is endemic in tropical and subtropical regions of the world and in the United States occurs in the southeastern region. It has a tendency to remain dormant or progress to a state of hyper-infection during immunosuppression. CASE REPORT We present the case of a 70-year-old Nigerian who developed fatal ARDS secondary to Strongyloides infection after been treated with steroids for treatment of autoimmune necrotizing myopathy. Despite adequate management with mechanical ventilation and appropriate antifungal therapy, the patient died on day 19 of hospitalization. CONCLUSIONS S. stercoralis is known to affect every organ in the body. ARDS is often an overlooked complication of Strongyloides hyper-infection, which is often deadly. Immediate diagnosis and treatment are important for patient survival.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Parasitic / diagnosis*
  • Lung Diseases, Parasitic / etiology
  • Lung Diseases, Parasitic / therapy
  • Male
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / parasitology*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / therapy
  • Strongyloides stercoralis*
  • Strongyloidiasis / complications*
  • Strongyloidiasis / diagnosis*
  • Strongyloidiasis / therapy
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed