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November 21, 1980

Persistence of Strongyloidiasis

JAMA. 1980;244(20):2264. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310200016015

To the Editor.—  In their report of two cases of disseminated strongyloidiasis, Harris et al (244:65, 1980) state that it is remotely possible that these patients acquired the infection during World War II. They favor recent acquisition of this infection in the rural South. This statement may give undue assurance for the physician treating urban veterans. As mentioned by Michael Katz, MD (244:68, 1980), in the editorial infection with Strongyloides may persist for many years. Gill and Bell1 found S stercoralis in 15% of former Far East prisoners of war attending a tropical medicine clinic, 30 years after their return to Britain, still complaining of the characteristic rash. In Australian veterans, Grove2 diagnosed active Strongyloides infection in 44 of 101 members of a battalion that had fallen prisoner 37 years before. Thus, the search for strongyloidiasis in veterans of the Far East theater should be emphasized.