To determine the frequency of Strongyloides stercoralis antibodies by means of the enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in Chile, in 2001-2003, 675 blood samples of patients of two psychiatric hospitals and 172 of healthy individuals (doctors, nurses and paramedicals) of these institutions, and 1,200 serum samples of blood donors of Northern region (Arica and Antofagasta), Central region (Valparaiso and Santiago) and Southern region (La Union) were collected. ELISA showed positivity of 12.1% in psychiatric hospitalized patients, none (0%) in the health personnel and 0.25% in blood donors (p < 0.05). Only in blood donors of Arica (1%) and La Union (0.5%) the ELISA test was positive suggesting that strongyloidiasis is focalized in determinate zones of the country. In Chile, human infections by S. stercoralis are endemic with very low frequency in apparently healthy individuals and high prevalence in risk groups such as the mentally ill hospitalized patients.
Strongyloides stercoralis; Seroepidemiology; Strongyloidiasis; Chile