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July 4, 1980

Disseminated Strongyloidiasis: Detectable and Preventable

JAMA. 1980;244(1):68. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310010054032

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The article "Disseminated Strongyloidiasis: Diagnosis Made by Sputum Examination," which appears elsewhere in this issue of The Journal (p 65), describes two cases of this condition in immunosuppressed patients. The number of similar reports has been increasing recently, and the phenomenon exemplified by the two patients herein described is neither new nor unusual. Dissemination of Strongyloides must be considered to be a serious complication of immunosuppression or immunosuppressive therapy because it may lead to death of the patient. Unlike almost all other complications of immunoincompetence, this one is wholly preventable by treatment of the original intestinal infection. Regrettably, patients who are immunosuppressed when first seen by a physician or patients who are made immunosuppressed in a variety of circumstances (cancer chemotherapy or renal transplantation) are not usually tested for the presence of S stercoralis. This is exactly what happened in the case reported, yet, the test is a simple one