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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 51

of 'Strongyloidiasis'

Strongyloidiasis: challenges in diagnosis and management in non-endemic Kuwait.
Hira PR, Al-Ali F, Shweiki HM, Abdella NA, Johny M, Francis I, Iqbal J, Thompson R, Nevar F
Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 2004;98(3):261.
Among immunocompromised individuals, hyper-infection with Strongyloides stercoralis may occur and lead to fatal strongyloidiasis. To clinicians and laboratory diagnosticians in non-endemic countries such as Kuwait, this severe infection poses a particular problem. The clinical histories and signs and symptoms of four Kuwaiti cases of S. stercoralis hyper-infection were reviewed. Each of the four was found not only to have lived in an area where S. stercoralis was endemic but also to have been treated with immunosuppressive steroids (for medical problems unrelated to the nematode infection). When they presented with undiagnosed hyper-infections their clinical features were confusing. Three of the cases, all with low eosinophil counts, died but the other, who was treated with thiabendazole, survived. In the light of these observations, healthy medical examinees who had recently moved from endemic zones were checked for asymptomatic S. stercoralis infection, both by stool examination and ELISA-based serology. Of 381 stool samples investigated over a 3-month period, 183 (48%) were found positive for helminths, 7% for S. stercoralis. Of 198 individuals from endemic zones who were screened after another medical examination, 71 (35.8%) were found positive for intestinal helminth parasites, including one (1.45%) infected with S. stercoralis. Although ELISA appear reliable in making a presumptive diagnosis of strongylodiasis, the results of such assays are not very specific and are best interpreted in conjunction with the patient's clinical status. The concurrent administration of anthelminthics to patients prescribed steroids who, because they live or have lived in an area where S. stercoralis is endemic, are at risk of infection with the nematode, should be considered.
Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, P.O. Box 24923, Safat, 13110, Kuwait. hira@hsc.kuniv.edu.kw