What are the clinical manifestations of strongyloidiasis?

Updated: Jun 20, 2019
  • Author: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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The clinical manifestations of Strongyloides infections vary, depending on the acuity of infection and the underlying host response. [34] The vast majority of patients with strongyloidiasis have uncomplicated disease. As many as 50% of patients remain asymptomatic and can survive decades undiagnosed.

Symptomatic infections typically manifest in gastrointestinal, pulmonary, and dermatologic systems. Patients who become symptomatic do so shortly after exposure, or they develop late symptoms. Severe symptoms may develop and death may ensue, especially in individuals who are immunocompromised.

Acute infection is generally characterized by gastrointestinal (GI) and pulmonary symptoms, whereas chronic infection is characterized by skin involvement.

Severe strongyloidiasis (hyperinfection, disseminated disease) may be insidious; occasionally, symptoms may have an abrupt onset. Fever is almost always present in disseminated disease. [35] Invasion of larvae into tissue is potentially massive. As a result, patients present with an exaggeration of the symptoms of established infection found in patients who are immunocompetent. In addition, as larvae penetrate the intestinal wall, they may allow enteric flora to escape, causing bacteremia, sepsis, meningitis, and endocarditis. Thus, a diagnosis of severe strongyloidiasis should be suspected with unusual GI or pulmonary symptoms or an unexplained Gram-negative bacilli sepsis.

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