Disease in the News
June 2, 20104
Disease in the News
Coccidioidomycosis, also known as valley fever, is a respiratory disease that can be devastating and problematic to diagnosis if unaware of it. To become infected individuals breathe in microscopic Coccidioid fungal spores in the air. Although the majority of individuals who breathe in the spores do not get sick, there are several facts about valley fever that everyone should know. The fungus Coccidioid lives in soil and dust in the southwestern United States and parts of Mexico, Central and South America, and most recently the fungus was found in south-central Washington State (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). Valley Fever is most common in Arizona and California. In southern Arizona, valley fever causes an estimated 15-30 percent of all community-acquired pneumonias, however less than 15 percent of the patients are actually tested for valley fever, suggesting there may be more people with the disease than reported (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). The increase of risk for getting valley fever is high after weather related events such as earthquakes or dust storms. Symptoms of valley fever are very similar to the flu. An individual will have fatigue, fever, night sweats and muscle aches among other flu-like symptoms. The incubation period is usually between one to three weeks after an individual has inhaled the fungal spores. In many cases, the symptoms disappear in a few weeks. In severe cases, the symptoms can last for years and can cause chronic pneumonia. Approximately 40 percent of individuals never show any symptoms after inhaling the spores (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). The risk for developing the severe form of valley fever is higher among individuals with weakened immune systems. This would include pregnant women, Individuals with diabetes or aids/hiv, anyone taking medications such as...
References: Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov
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