What causes strongyloidiasis?

Updated: Jun 20, 2019
  • Author: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Strongyloidiasis is caused by the nematode (roundworm) Strongyloides stercoralis. The genus Strongyloides is classified in the order Rhabditida, and most members are soil-dwelling microbiverous nematodes. Most of the 52 species of Strongyloides do not infect humans. S stercoralis is the most common human pathogen. Other species include S myopotami and S procyonis. These species have animal hosts and are thus responsible for zoonotic infections. [6]

Infections are initiated when exposed skin contacts contaminated soil. Autoinfection commonly occurs allowing infection to persist decades. The longest documented asymptomatic infection was more than 65 years. Hyperinfection is typically triggered by drug-induced or disease-associated defects in cellular immunity, which allows a massive increase in parasite burden and dissemination to nearly all organ systems.


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