Strongyloidiasis is an infection caused by the intestinal nematode Strongyloides stercoralis. Infected healthy individuals are usually asymptomatic, however it is potentially fatal in immunocompromised hosts due to its capacity to cause an overwhelming hyperinfection. Strongyloidiasis could be missed during routine screening because of low and intermittent larval output in stool and variable manifestations of the symptoms. We present two cases of strongyloidiasis occurring in children with solid organ malignancies suspected to have the infection based on their clinical conditions and treatment history for cancer. Both patients were diagnosed by molecular and serological tests and were successfully treated. Thus, strongyloidiasis in patients undergoing intensive treatment for malignancies should be suspected, properly investigated and treated accordingly.
Transmission of soil-transmitted helminthes infection is by faecal oral route, and is influenced by food preference. Kelantanese love to consume ulam which are raw vegetables and herbs. Some of the herbs grow on grounds with high humidity and are abundant near drainage areas, these are also places with higher likelihood of harbouring viable parasite ova. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of soiltransmitted helminthes in vegetables, herbs and fruits found in our local setting. The results by microscopy showed that there was no helminthes ovum or protozoan parasite in the samples. However, Strongyloides stercoralis rhabdatiform larvae were identified in water samples used to wash pegaga, kesum and water spinach, and the number of larvae observed were 152, 9 and 16 respectively. Analysis by real-time PCR confirmed the microscopic observation of this helminth. This study highlighted that vegetables and herbs are likely sources of Strongyloides stercoralis infection in Kota Bharu, Kelantan. Thus vegetable sellers as well as the food handlers are the two important groups who are at high risk of acquiring the infection.
Strongyloides stercoralis infection can persist in the host for several decades, and patients with cancer and other clinical conditions who are exposed to immunosuppressive therapy are at risk of developing hyperinfection.