Strongyloides Stercoralis Infection After the use of Emergency Corticosteroids

A Case Report on Hyperinfection Syndrome

George Vasquez-Rios; Roberto Pineda-Reyes; Eloy F. Ruiz; Angelica Terashima; Fernando Mejia


J Med Case Reports. 2019;13(121) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: In clinical practice, identification of a case of severe asthma exacerbation prompts initiation of corticosteroids. However, not all that wheezes is asthma.

Case presentation: A 61-year-old man from the Peruvian Amazon presented with progressive dyspnea, abdominal pain, and cough for the past week. His medical history was remarkable for asthma since childhood; he was treated with beta-agonists, ipratropium, and orally administered corticosteroids. On evaluation, he was febrile and ill-appearing. His chest examination revealed diffuse wheezing and bilateral crackles. He was diagnosed as having community-acquired pneumonia and asthma exacerbation and was started on empiric antibiotics, nebulized beta-agonists, and orally administered corticosteroids. His clinical status continued deteriorating and he became critically ill despite broad-spectrum antibiotics and antifungals. Considering the epidemiological background of our patient, bronchoalveolar and fecal samples were obtained to investigate soil-transmitted helminths. Larvae of Strongyloides stercoralis were found in both specimens. Ivermectin was initiated and corticosteroids were discontinued. He experienced remarkable improvement of clinical condition over the next weeks. The literature on this topic was reviewed.

Conclusion: Cases of severe asthma exacerbation warrant careful evaluation before the initiation of corticosteroids, especially in patients at risk for parasitic infections. A high index of suspicion is critical. Alternative etiologies of respiratory decompensation should be considered in patients who fail to improve with broad-spectrum antibiotics and antifungals.