An infestation of the intestines by the parasitic worm. It is widespread in the tropics. Strongyloidiasis is contracted in affected areas by walking barefoot on soil contaminated with faeces. Larvae penetrate the soles, migrating via the lungs and throat to the intestine. Here they develop into adults and produce larvae. Most larvae are passed in the faeces, but some enter the skin around the anus to begin a new cycle. A person may be infested for more than 40 years. The larvae cause itching and red weals where they enter the skin. In the lungs they may cause asthma or pneumonia. Heavy intestinal infestation may cause swelling of the abdomen and diarrhoea. Occasionally, an infected person with reduced immunity dies of complications, such as septicaemia or meningitis. Treatment with an anthelmintic drug, usually tiabendazole, kills the worms.


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