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Sarcosporidiosis Treatment & Management

  • Author: Edward Charbek, MD; Chief Editor: Mark R Wallace, MD, FACP, FIDSA  more...
Updated: Oct 07, 2015

Medical Care

No specific antiparasitic agent is indicated, as Sarcocystis infection in humans represents the fully formed terminal stage of the parasite. Corticosteroids can be used to reduce the inflammation associated with Sarcocystis muscular involvement.[5, 19]


Surgical Care

As discussed above, excisional biopsy in the area of the painful muscle swelling is occasionally performed for diagnostic purposes but is not generally indicated.[2, 11]



If the history and physical examination findings suggest parasitic infection, consultation with an infectious disease specialist, specifically one familiar with tropical medicine, may be indicated.



Sarcocysts have been detected in a large percentage of the world’s beef cows and, to a lesser extent, pigs, camels, sheep, horses, and other domesticated animals.[20] Because of this, all associated meat products should be properly cooked before consumption. It is recommended that beef and pork be cooked at 100°C for 4 minutes or frozen to -4°C for 48 hours before consumption. Food suspected of being contaminated with feces or dirt should be avoided in all circumstances.



Because sarcosporidiosis is usually found incidentally and the human host is typically asymptomatic, no activity restrictions apply, even in persons with confirmed infection. If the patient is experiencing significant myalgias, activity can be directed as tolerated, but no studies have shown that the level of activity affects morbidity or mortality in persons with sarcosporidiosis.



No vaccines are currently available for Sarcocystis infection. General hygiene and proper cooking of meat products remain the mainstays of prevention.

Boiling water when contamination with Sarcocystis is suspected provides disinfection. Chemical disinfection with chlorine does not provide adequate disinfection; however, filtering with a small-pore filter does.[21, 22]

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Edward Charbek, MD Fellow in Pulmonary/Critical Care Medicine, St Louis University Hospital

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Nirav Patel, MD Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Allergy and Immunology and Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, St Louis University School of Medicine; Interim Chief Medical Officer, Director of Antibiotic Stewardship, Infection Control Officer, St Louis University Hospital

Nirav Patel, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Medical Association, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Missouri State Medical Association, Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, Society of Critical Care Medicine, Infectious Diseases Society of St Louis, St Louis Metropolitan Medical Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Joseph F John, Jr, MD, FACP, FIDSA, FSHEA Clinical Professor of Medicine, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine; Associate Chief of Staff for Education, Ralph H Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Joseph F John, Jr, MD, FACP, FIDSA, FSHEA is a member of the following medical societies: Charleston County Medical Association, Infectious Diseases Society of America, South Carolina Infectious Diseases Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Mark R Wallace, MD, FACP, FIDSA Clinical Professor of Medicine, Florida State University College of Medicine; Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Central Florida College of Medicine

Mark R Wallace, MD, FACP, FIDSA is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, American Society for Microbiology, Infectious Diseases Society of America, International AIDS Society, Florida Infectious Diseases Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Raphael J Kiel, MD Associate Professor of Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine; Associate Professor of Medicine, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine; Consulting Staff, Infectious Diseases Division, William Beaumont Hospital; Consulting Staff, Infectious Diseases Division Providence Hospital

Raphael J Kiel, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine, American Geriatrics Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Nicholas R Ondrasik, DO Resident Physician, Department of Internal Medicine, Tripler Army Medical Center

Nicholas R Ondrasik, DO is a member of the following medical societies: American Medical Association, American Osteopathic Association, Christian Medical and Dental Associations, Association of Military Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Gunther Hsue, MD Consulting Staff, Department of Infectious Diseases, Chief, Multi-Specialty Clinic, Tripler Army Medical Center

Gunther Hsue, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Armed Forces Infectious Diseases Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Kenneth C Earhart, MD Deputy Head, Disease Surveillance Program, United States Naval Medical Research Unit #3

Kenneth C Earhart, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Physicians, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Infectious Diseases Society of America, and Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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