Coccidioidomycosis, commonly called valley fever, is a potentially-serious lung infection.
Valley fever is caused by a fungal infection. The fungus that causes valley fever is found in the soil, most commonly in the southwestern United States, Mexico, and parts of Central and South America. Though the fungus lives in the soil, it is transported through the air and into the lungs, where it infects people who breathe it in. When soil that contains the fungus is disturbed, spores are released into the air.
The disease cannot be transmitted from person to person.
People who are at increased risk of exposure to the fungus include:
People who are at increased risk of getting valley fever after exposure include:
Most people have no symptoms of valley fever. If present symptoms may include:
The fungus can affect other parts of the body besides the lungs, and is called disseminated valley fever.
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor may ask about recent travel.
Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:
To help reduce your chance of getting valley fever:
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Valley Fever Connections
Public Health Agency of Canada
Ampel NM. New perspectives on coccidioidomycosis. Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2010;7(3):181-185.
Coccidioidomycosis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116164/Coccidioidomycosis. Updated August 23, 2016. Accessed September 27, 2016.
Ampel NM, Giblin A, Mourani JP, Galgiani JN. Factors and outcomes associated with the decision to treat primary pulmonary coccidioidomycosis. Clin Infect Dis. 2009;48(2):172-178.
Fisher BT, Chiller TM, Prasad PA, et al. Hospitalizations for coccidioidomycosis at forty-one children's hospitals in the United States. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2010;29(3):243-247.
Galgiani JN. Valley fever tutorial for primary care professionals. The Valley Fever Center for Excellence website. Available at http://www.vfce.arizona.edu/resources/pdf/Tutorial_for_Primary_care_Physicians.pdf. Updated January 2015. Accessed December 9, 2015.
Hector RF, Rutherford GW, Tsang CA, et al. The public health impact of coccidioidomycosis in Arizona and California. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011;8(4):1150-1173.
Valley fever in people. Valley Fever Center for Excellence website. Available at: https://www.vfce.arizona.edu/ValleyFeverInPeople/Default.aspx. Accessed December 9, 2015.
Valley fever (coccidioidomycosis) risk & prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/coccidioidomycosis/risk-prevention.html. Updated April 17, 2015. Accessed December 9, 2015.
Last reviewed November 2015 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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