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Parasitic pulmonary infections in HIV-infected patients

Patricia A Tietjen, MD
Section Editor
John G Bartlett, MD
Deputy Editor
Jennifer Mitty, MD, MPH


Prior to the era of potent antiretroviral therapy, parasitic pulmonary infections were more commonly seen than they are today. However, the clinician still needs to be aware of presenting symptoms and signs of these uncommon infections, which may still be diagnosed in the immunosuppressed patient with untreated or drug-resistant HIV infection.

This topic will address pulmonary infections related to Toxoplasma gondii, Strongyloides stercoralis, Cryptosporidium, and Microsporidium.


T. gondii is a ubiquitous intracellular protozoan. Although T. gondii can infect a wide range of vertebrates, feral and domestic cats are the definitive hosts. The organism undergoes its complete life cycle in the cat, resulting in the production of oocytes, which are passed with the feces into soil. Oocytes may remain infective for over one year. If ingested, Toxoplasma can invade tissue and reproduce. The two routes of transmission to humans are:

Ingestion of food or beverages contaminated with sporulated oocytes.

Transmission from mother to fetus.


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Literature review current through: Jul 2017. | This topic last updated: Jul 15, 2015.
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