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Related to California valley fever: coccidioidomycosis, desert fever


(kŏksĭd'ēoi'dōmīkō`sĭs), systemic fungus disease (see fungal infectionfungal infection,
infection caused by a fungus (see Fungi), some affecting animals, others plants. Fungal Infections of Human and Animals

Many fungal infections, or mycoses, of humans and animals affect only the outer layers of skin, and although they are sometimes
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) endemic to arid regions of the Americas, contracted by inhaling dust containing spores of the fungus Coccidioides immitis. From the respiratory tract, it can spread to the skin, bones, and central nervous system. Manifestions of the disease range from complete absence of symptoms to systemic infection and death. In 60% of the cases no clinical evidence of the disease is present and the only recognizable sign is a positive skin test; in 15% symptoms resembling those of influenza occur; and in 25% more serious signs such as swelling of the knees, weakness, pleural pain, and prostration occur. Diagnosis is made upon positive cultural identification of the fungus. Treatment is with the antifungal amphotericin B and bed rest. The soil that supports Coccidioides spores is indigenous to dry, hot geographical areas; the SW United States, Argentina, and Paraguay are areas of high incidence of infection. Cases in the San Joaquin Valley in California, where the disease is called valley fever, increased tenfold between 1991 and 1995.


See M. J. Fiese, Coccidioidomycosis (1958); D. A. Stevens, ed., Coccidioidomycosis (1980).



coccidioidosis, a disease of man and animals caused by the pathogenic fungus Coccidioides immitus and belonging to the mycosis group. It is prevalent in the countries of America (USA, Argentina, and Mexico), but rare in Europe and the USSR.

Soil is the natural reservoir of the fungus. A person becomes infected after inhaling dried exospores, which are highly volatile. The disease is not transmitted by a sick person or animal. Its clinical course may resemble that of influenza, rheumatism, or erythema nodosum, and it is accompanied by elevated body temperature, general malaise, and so forth. It strikes the lungs, skin (formation of deep infiltrates), central nervous system, and bones most often. Treatment calls for antibiotics, surgical removal of affected tissues, and supporting therapy.

Under natural conditions, cattle, sheep, dogs, kangaroos, squirrels, monkeys, rabbits, and other animals are also susceptible to coccidioidomycosis. The incidence is highest in a dry summer and fall, lowest in winter and spring. In cattle, it is chronic, benign, and asymptomatic. Dissection reveals the presence of a granulomatous process in the thoracic lymph nodes. In dogs, the disease is malignant and progressive and involves various organs and tissues. The diagnosis is based on laboratory tests. There are no radical methods of controlling coccidioidomycosis of animals. It is recommended that the animals in affected regions be examined and slaughtered if they react to the allergen. Diseased dogs are destroyed.



An infectious fungus disease of humans and animals of either a pulmonary or a cutaneous nature; caused by Coccidioides immitis. Also known as San Joaquin Valley fever.
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