Robert M Genta, Department of Pathology, Medicine, and Microbiology and Immunology, Baylor College of Medicine, Center for Infectious Diseases, University of Texas, and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Houston, Texas, USA

Copyright © 1998 Elsevier Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Strongyloidiasis is caused by infection with any member of Strongyloides, a parasitic genus comprising 38 named species collectively known as threadworms. Humans, dogs and cats are infected by Strongyloides stercoralis. S. ratti is a parasite of wild rodents which has a worldwide distribution and can be easily maintained in laboratory rats and mice. The relationship of these two species with their respective hosts' immune system has been investigated most extensively, but other species are of considerable clinical and economic importance. These include S. fulleborni, primarily a parasite of primates, but known to cause human infections in Africa and New Guinea; S. ransomi and S. westeri, which infect swine and equines, respectively, on the American continent; and S. papillosus, found in ungulates throughout Europe and North America.

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