Strongyloidiasis is an infection caused by the nematode Strongyloides stercoralis, which is a roundworm. The roundworm S. stercoralis is a parasite. Parasites are creatures that feed off the bodies of other species while they dwell within the bodies of those other species. The living thing that is infected is called the host.

In the United States, infections caused by S. stercoralis are quite uncommon. Most of the time, the roundworm lives in warm places, like tropical and subtropical countries. It happens more often in rural areas and places like nursing homes that are run by the government.

Strongyloidiasis usually has no symptoms. Most of the time, good hygiene can keep you from getting sick from S. stercoralis.


Strongyloidiasis is characterized by the absence of symptoms in around 50% of patients. In the event that symptoms manifest, they could include:

  • discomfort or burning in the upper abdomen
  • diarrhea, or alternating constipation and diarrhea
  • hacking cough
  • rash
  • reddish hives next to the anus
  • vomiting
  • reduced weight

A rash is one of the potential side effects of coming into contact with the S. stercoralis roundworm. In most cases, gastrointestinal symptoms manifest about two weeks after a person has been infected for the first time.


One or more of the following diagnostic procedures may be used to determine whether or not an individual has an infection caused by S. stercoralis:

  • Duodenal aspiration
  • Sputum culture
  • Stool sample for ova and parasites
  • Complete blood count (CBC) with differential
  • Blood antigen test

Microscopic investigations of duodenum or stool samples are the gold standard for diagnosis.


To put it simply, therapy should get rid of the worms. Treatment for strongyloidiasis typically consists of a single dosage of the antiparasitic drug ivermectin (Stromectol). The worms in your intestines are what this medication is targeting.

Your doctor may also recommend two 10-day intervals between albendazole (Albenza) doses. Thiabendazole (Tresaderm) may be used twice daily for two or three days to get the same results.

If the infection is severe, you may need to take the medicine for a longer period of time or take it more than once.

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