Infestations of the fungus Coccidioides can be common in parts of the southwestern US, northern Mexico, and central and southern Argentina. In the US, these infestations affect people in the southwestern states of Utah, Nevada, and south-central Washington. Between 30 and 60% of people are exposed to this fungus. In 2017, there were 14,364 confirmed cases of coccidioidomycosis.
What is Coccidioidomycosis?
Coccidioidomycosis is an infection caused by a fungus known as Coccidioides, which is commonly found in the soil of low rainfall regions. It is endemic to many areas of the Southwestern United States, Mexico, and the San Joaquin Valley in California. Though not common, this fungus is capable of causing severe infections, such as chronic pneumonia.
The infection can cause flu-like symptoms, such as fever, and can lead to a rash on the upper trunk. People with this infection can expect to experience symptoms between two and four weeks after exposure. A chest x-ray and a culture of the infected area may help confirm a diagnosis. Treatment for coccidioidomycosis is usually fluconazole.
The infection is contracted through the inhalation of spores. These spores are present in soil and can become airborne through the dust. People can contract this infection from animals and infected soil, such as deserts. Some occupations are also at higher risk for coccidioidomycosis, especially those involving soil disturbed by a recent drought. Despite being noncontagious, coccidioidomycosis can be a chronic, life-long condition. Both Coccidioides species share a common asexual life cycle and switch between parasitic and saprobic stages.
A fungus that is present in the soil can cause the disease, known as coccidioidomycosis. Coccidioides Immitis is an endemic species in the San Joaquin Valley of California but is also found in scattered areas of Central and South America. Though both are morphologically identical, they are not genetically similar. The disease often appears as a low-grade infection in the lungs.
There are two types of coccidioidomycosis: the acute form and the chronic form. Acute coccidioidomycosis is a relatively mild form of the disease, which begins within one to three weeks after inhaling the fungus spores. It usually clears up on its own without treatment, but it may cause infections in the skin or heart. Chronic coccidioidomycosis may develop months or years after an acute form. When a person contracts Coccidioid, the organism may spread to other areas of the body, and the disease can progress to a chronic form of pneumonia. Most often, this form occurs in people with a weakened immune system.
While treatment for coccidioidomycosis differs from other forms of the infection, early diagnosis is essential for the patient to receive appropriate care and avoid unnecessary tests. Coccidioidomycosis symptoms may last for up to 120 days, although some patients report missing nine or even 14 days of school or work due to the infection. The severity of symptoms was not related to the severity of the disease, although the time to 50 percent resolution was about 95 days.
The infectious disease coccidioidomycosis is caused by soil-dwelling fungi called Coccidioides Immitis. This fungus is endemic in the southwestern US, northern Mexico, and parts of Central and South America. The fungus' incubation period is 1-4 weeks, and it can last for years after infection. The disease can be acquired through inhalation of the fungus.
The infection is present in many parts of the Western Hemisphere, particularly in arid areas. Parts of the disease are present in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and the southern San Joaquin Valley in California. Coccidioides is also found in parts of Texas, New Mexico, Utah, and southern-central Washington. It has not been isolated from soils outside these areas. Its endemicity is likely to grow wider than previously thought.
Infected individuals acquire the disease by inhaling contaminated soil or dust. The condition is usually mild and has no noticeable symptoms, but is not life-threatening. Prevention measures for coccidioidomycosis include wearing protective clothing and respirators and moistening soil before any soil-disturbing activity. Additionally, education for travelers and residents in areas with an increased risk of infection is recommended.
How Coccidioidomycosis spreads
Coccidioidomycosis is a fungal disease caused by spores of the fungus Coccidioides Immitis. The fungus is widespread in the soils of the southwestern United States, northern Mexico, and central and south America. Coccidioides spores are spread by dust from storms and off-road vehicles. Although anyone living in an area where Coccidioides is endemic is at risk, the disease is most common among elderly people, immune-suppressed people, and those with compromised immune systems.
The fungus lives in soil and is spread through dust particles. While Coccidioides does not spread from person to person, it does have the potential to spread to the bone, joints, and soft tissues. Spread to the central nervous system is the most dangerous form of Coccidioidomycosis. People with suppressed immune systems, pregnant women, and African-Americans are at higher risk of contracting Coccidioidomycosis. Symptoms of this disease may include back pain, nausea, and headaches.
Most people infected with Coccidioides do not show any symptoms. They may have a mild respiratory illness or even no symptoms. But a small percentage of individuals may develop a severe infection, which may lead to meningitis or pneumonia. Only the most severe cases are reported to the health department, which will then use microscopic examination, culture, and serological testing to determine the type of infection.
Coccidioidomycosis is an endemic disease caused by fungi, the Coccidioides species, in the desert regions of the southwestern US and northern Mexico. Most people with this disease experience only mild or no symptoms and it will clear up on its own. However, some people have compromised immune systems and are at risk for more severe forms of this infection. This is because some people have a genetic or racial predisposition to the disease.
A small number of individuals may develop nodules on the lungs, which can cause severe pain and difficulty breathing. In such cases, a tube may be inserted into the chest to remove the air, and surgery may be necessary to repair damage to the lung. Although rare, coccidioidomycosis may lead to skin ulcers and abscesses, as well as joint and heart inflammation.
As the incidence of this disease rises, the diagnostic approach to the disease is becoming increasingly complex. Using examples from classic clinical presentations, the authors explain the role of serologic tests and suggest an algorithm for diagnosis. This article provides a brief introduction to coccidioidomycosis and explains how a fungus may be identified. There are many ways to determine the presence of coccidioidomycosis, so it is essential to know which tests you need to order to make a proper diagnosis.
Coccidioidomycosis treatment involves the use of antifungal drugs. Among the available drugs are fluconazole and itraconazole, which are used to treat less serious forms of coccidioidomycosis. Both of these drugs have a number of side effects, which often go away once you stop taking them. The following list provides some common side effects associated with the use of antifungals.
There are several methods for diagnosing coccidioidomycosis, including spherule staining of affected tissues. Cultures of Coccidioides spp. are significant infectious hazards. A pathological finding, the spherule, is pathognomonic for the disease. Antigenemia and complement-fixation antibodies are also available. These two tests are particularly useful in determining the severity of the disease.
The symptoms of coccidioidomycosis depend on the location and type of the infection. The infection usually occurs when an individual inhales spores of Coccidioides Immitis. Most cases occur in major endemic areas of the United States, but travelers to other parts of the country may need medical management. In such cases, the spherules release thousands of tiny endospores, which are transmitted by air and can reach humans.
Risk & Prevention of Coccidioidomycosis
Among the most important steps in preventing coccidioidomycosis are avoiding exposure to soil dust and wearing a respirator when outdoors. If you must disturb the soil, make sure that you wet the ground before you begin. Education of travelers and residents in endemic areas is also essential. People with immunodeficiency diseases and people who are incarcerated are particularly susceptible.
Antifungal drugs are now available. Newer drugs must have better fungicidal activity, fast action, and minimal drug interactions. Meanwhile, new preventive measures are needed to eradicate the disease. There is no vaccine available yet, but many people can take steps to prevent contracting the disease. However, there is no vaccine for coccidioidomycosis. In the meantime, the disease can be prevented through the use of fungicides.
While most people who have coccidioidomycosis will experience only mild symptoms, there are cases when the disease will spread to other parts of the body. In these cases, the disease can lead to pneumonia or even severe neurological damage. The time period between exposure and symptoms will vary but typically lasts a few weeks. In some cases, the infection can spread to distant organs such as the brain and bones.