Several studies have shown that chronic alcoholics have increased susceptibility to infections due to higher exposure to infectious agents as well as breakdown in their immune defenses. As Strongyloides stercoralis infection is usually more relevant in immunocompromised patients, the aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency of S. stercoralis infection in alcoholics.
Thus, coproparasitological examination was carried out in 145 subjects, from which 45 were chronic alcoholics (mean age of 45.7 +/- 11.0 years), 10 were nonalcoholic cirrhotic patients (mean age of 50.2 +/- 13.1 years), and 90 were asymptomatic nonalcoholic subjects (mean age of 46.7 +/- 10.1 years), which served as controls.
From the alcoholics, 9 had hepatic cirrhosis, 9 had chronic pancreatitis and 27 had neither cirrhosis nor pancreatitis. For the diagnosis of strongyloidiasis, the Baermann-Moraes and Lutz methods were used in three fecal samples from each subject. Samples were collected at alternated days, and three slides of each sample were analyzed for each method, thus totalizing 2,610 slides examined.
The frequency of strongloidiasis in the total alcoholic group (33.3%) and in the subgroups of alcoholics, i.e., patients with hepatic cirrhosis (44.4%), with chronic pancreatitis (33.3%), and those with no cirrhosis or pancreatitis (29.6%) was statistically higher than that found in the control group (5.5%).
None of the individuals with nonalcoholic hepatic cirrhosis had S. stercoralis infection. Our results showed that the chronic alcoholism itself is an important factor that predisposes to strongyloidiasis.
Authors: Luiz Carlos Marques de Oliveira, Camila Toffoli Ribeiro, Daniel de Melo Mendes, Tatiana Cunha Oliveira, Julia Maria Costa-Cruz
Font: Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Vol. 97(1): 119-121