Nematode infection may be a risk factor for pyogenic liver abscess in children and we hypothesized that the immunomodulation induced by those parasites would be a risk factor for any staphylococcal infection in children. The present study was designed to compare, within the same hospital, the frequency of intestinal nematodes and Toxocara
infection in children with and without staphylococcal infections. From October 1997 to February 1998, 80 children with staphylococcal infection and 110 children with other diseases were submitted to fecal examination, serology for Toxocara
sp., evaluation of plasma immunoglobulin levels, and eosinophil counts. Mean age, gender distribution, birthplace, and socioeconomic conditions did not differ significantly between the two groups. Frequency of intestinal nematodes and positive serology for Toxocara
, were remarkably higher in children with staphylococcal infections than in the non-staphylococcal group. There was a significant correlation between intestinal nematodes or Toxocara
infection and staphylococcal infection in children, reinforced by higher eosinophil counts and higher IgE levels in these children than in the control group. One possible explanation for this association would be the enhancement of bacterial infection by the immunomodulation induced by helminth infections, due to strong activation of the Th2 subset of lymphocytes by antigens from larvae and adult worms.