What is Strongyloidiasis?

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  • Written By: Alex Paul
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 02 January 2019
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Strongyloidiasis is a parasitic infection caused by roundworms. Some patients don’t suffer from any symptoms, but the disease can cause issues such as diarrhea and abdominal pain. Symptoms can be very similar to that of other conditions, so an accurate diagnosis through the examination of stool samples is important. Drugs such as ivermectin and albendazole are often prescribed to treat the condition and are usually successful, although more than one course of treatment may be needed for severe cases.

The infection strongyloidiasis is caused by the nematode parasite, otherwise known as a roundworm. It is most common in tropical regions of the world, but can be found anywhere with a warm climate including regions of the U.S. The disease is more likely to affect poor people or those living in the countryside. Severe cases of the disease can cause a variety of health problems, which makes accurate diagnosis and treatment essential for a patient’s well-being.

Strongyloidiasis doesn’t always have symptoms. In fact, many patients with the parasite suffer from no noticeable signs of the disease. If the condition does bring about symptoms, however, these can include pain in the stomach and diarrhea. Should the condition become chronic, it is always symptom free, making it difficult to diagnose. Symptoms of strongyloidiasis often mimic those of other conditions such as Crohn’s disease and peptic ulcers.


The only way to accurately diagnose strongyloidiasis is to try and identify the parasite in a stool sample. Examination of stool samples may need to be repeated several times because the parasite’s larvae don’t always show up the first time around. Symptoms of the condition can suggest that the disease is present, but an accurate diagnosis is required to prevent confusion with other disorders. Some people with strongyloidiasis have surgery for other conditions, such as gall bladder disease, and then fail to recover as expected because the operation didn’t treat the true cause of pain.

Treatment for strongyloidiasis is usually via medication. A drug called ivermectin is commonly prescribed and often achieves good results. If the patient suffers from a prolonged case of strongyloidiasis, several courses of treatment may be required to eliminate the infection. In order to verify that the medication is having the desired effect, stool samples are usually examined on a regular basis. Albendazole is another drug that is sometimes prescribed to treat the condition, and in certain cases the two medications may be used together.



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