Coccidioidomycosis, also known as California Disease or Valley Fever, is an infectious disease caused by a fungal infection from the Coccidioides immitis or the Coccidioides posadasil. Approximately forty percent of Coccidioidomycosis cases display symptoms akin to the flu. Such symptoms are coughing, fevers, headaches, myalgias, and rash. Some of these cases do not resolve and worsen into a widespread disseminated infection that affects bone, soft tissues, and meninges. Coccidioidomycosis could also develop into a chronic pulmonary infection, especially for individuals with HIV infection.

The agents of Coccidioidomycosis can be found in semiarid locations. Coccidioidomycosis is particularly prevalent in Mexico, south western parts of the United States, and South America. A 1995 study done in Arizona estimated that there were approximately fifteen cases of Coccidioidomycosis per a hundred thousand people.

When Coccidioidomycosis results in meningitis, it may cause permanent neurological damage. For individuals with HIV infection who suffer from diffuse lung disease, Coccidioidomycosis can be fatal because of sequelae.

Transmission of Coccidioidomycosis occurs when airborne arthroconidia are inhaled from contaminated soil. Dust storms and earthquakes are possible contributing factors. People who are at particular risk include individuals who work at construction sites, workers in the agricultural industry, as well as archeologists. Asians and African-Americans have been known to be more vulnerable, as are pregnant women during the third trimester. People with a weak immune system are also at greater risk.

Scientists are hard at work to create a vaccine that is effective against Coccidioidomycosis. Research is also being done to improve preventative measures, especially for high risk groups. The NETSS began surveying Coccidioidomycosis in 1995 particularly in the United States, focusing on the states of Arizona, California, and New Mexico.

© Medic8® | All Rights Reserved