Strongyloides stercoralis is a soil-transmitted threadworm that is endemic in many tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Now, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases have conducted a nation-wide parasitology survey of the Cambodian population and concluded that nearly a third of the studied population is infected with S. stercoralis.
The threadworm is transmitted through infected larvae in the soil and, like hookworms, infect humans through the skin. The worm can cause long-lasting and potentially fatal infections in people. Larvae are not detected by standard coprological diagnostics, so S. stercoralis has been under-detected and overlooked for decades. However, previous surveys in individual provinces of Cambodia have found high prevalence rates of the infection.