Strongyloides stercoralis

  • David I. Grove


Strongyloides stercoralis is unusual among worms in that it has the capacity to replicate within the human host [1, 2]. This contrasts with most worms that cannot multiply. For example, one hookworm larva becomes one adult hookworm or one ingested Ascaris egg becomes one adult roundworm; the eggs they produce must develop further in the external environment and the adult worms within the bowel eventually die. S. stercoralis, however, persists by a process of autoinfection in which infective larvae penetrate the bowel mucosa (internal autoinfection) or the perianal skin (external autoinfection) and pass via the bloodstream to the lungs, ascend the airways and return to the small bowel where they invade the intestinal mucosa to become parasitic adult female worms. These in turn produce rhabditi- form larvae, the vast majority of which are passed in the stools although a small proportion moult twice within the bowel to become infective larvae and maintain the cycle. As a result, infection may persist for many years; the longest reported period is 64 years [3].


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Adult Worm Acquire Immunodeficiency Syndrome Worm Burden 
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© Springer-Verlag Italia 2003

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  • David I. Grove

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