San Joaquin Valley fever; Valley fever
Coccidioidomycosis is infection with the spores of the fungus Coccidioides immitis.
Coccidioidomycosis is a fungal infection most commonly seen in the desert regions of the southwestern United States, and in Central and South America. You get it by breathing in fungal particles from soil. The infection starts in the lungs.
There are three forms of coccidioidomycosis: acute, chronic, or disseminated.
Traveling to an area where the fungus is commonly seen raises your risk for this infection. You are more likely to develop a serious infection if:
Most people with this infection never have symptoms. Others may have cold- or flu-like symptoms or symptoms of pneumonia. If symptoms occur, they typically start 5 to 21 days after being exposed to the fungus. They include:
Additional symptoms associated with this disease:
For information on skin rashes associated with this infection, see: Skin lesion of coccidioidomycosis.
The acute disease almost always goes away without treatment. Bedrest and treatment of flu-like symptoms until fever disappears may be recommended.
Disseminated or severe disease should be treated with amphotericin B, ketoconazole, fluconazole, or itraconazole.
How well the person does depends on the form of the disease they have and their overall health. The outcome in acute disease is likely to be good. With treatment, the outcome is usually good for chronic or severe disease (although relapses may occur). People with disseminated disease have a high death rate.
Disseminated coccidioidomycosis is a serious complication that is more likely if you have a weakened immune system due to:
Other complications of coccidioidomycosis include:
Medications used to treat this infection may also cause side effects, including fever, chills, and nausea.
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have symptoms of coccidioidomycosis or if your condition does not improve with treatment.
Maintaining general good health will help keep the disease in the benign pulmonary form. Prevention of AIDS or other causes of damage to the immune system will usually prevent the more severe forms of the disease.
Galgiani JN. Coccidioidomycosis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 354.
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