A fatal case of systemic strongyloidiasis and review of the literature

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Systemic strongyloidiasis is a rare but serious complication of intestinal strongyloidiasis. The condition occurs mainly in immunosuppressed patients and has a significant mortality rate. A case of systemic strongyloidiasis is described in a patient who received systemic steroid treatment, and a short review of the literature is given. The increased use of immunosuppressive and cytotoxic treatment necessitates increased awareness of this infection. HIV-infection, however, does not appear to increase the risk of developing systemic strongyloidiasis. Patients from endemic areas and travellers to such areas, even in the remote past, should be examined for strongyloidiasis before being given immunosuppressive treatment. Awareness of the possibility of systemic strongyloidiasis is essential if such a patient develops gastrointestinal or pulmonary symptoms or has repeated episodes of unexplained gram-negative infections while undergoing immunosuppressive treatment.