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The Hunger Project Bolen Report
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Coccidiomycosis Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy Coccidiomycosis is a disease due to a fungus called Coccidioides immitis. About 40% of people infected with this fungus develop symptoms. Most often they have an influenza-like illness with fever, cough, headaches, rash, and muscle pains. Of those people with symptoms, 8% have severe lung disease requiring hospitalization and 7% develop disseminated infection. Groups at high risk from the fungus include African-Americans and Asians, pregnant women in the third trimester, smokers, the elderly, diabetics and people with an impaired immune system. The fungus can infect the retina and cause blindness. The disease is also known by a number of other names including desert fever, Posadas disease, San Joaquin fever, San Joaquin Valley disease, San Joaquin Valley fever, and valley fever. (Oh, and by the way, it is endemic in the San Joaquin Valley of California.) The fungus is in the soil in semiarid areas (primarily in the "lower Sonoran life zone"). The disease is endemic (constantly present) in the southwestern U.S. and parts of Mexico and South America. Inhalation of airborne spores after disturbance of soil by people or natural disasters (such as wind storms and earthquakes) exposes people (as for example, construction or agricultural workers and archeologists) to the dust containing the spores. A mask helps but does not provide complete protection against the fungus.



The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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