Center for Respiratory and Sleep Disorder

What is Coccidioidomycosis?

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Also known as San Joaquin Valley Fever or Valley Fever, Coccidioidomycosis is an infectious illness caused by breathing in spores from the fungus Cocciodioides immitis which exists in the soil of certain arid parts of the southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central and South America.

Description of Coccidioidomycosis

In the U.S., it was first discovered and very prevalent in the California's San Joaquin Valley, hence its more popular name, San Joaquin Fever or Valley Fever.

Coccidioidomycosis occurs in a primary and in a secondary form. The primary form, due to inhalation of windborne spores, varies in severity from that of the common cold to symptoms resembling those of influenza. The secondary form is a virulent and severe, chronic, progressive and granulomatous (a mass of nodular tissue resulting from inflammation, injury or infection) disease resulting in involvement of cutaneous and subcutaneous tissues, viscera, the central nervous system and lungs.

Coccidioidomycosis may affect anyone, but if you are pregnant or your immune system is weak, you are especially vulnerable. The disease tends to be more serious in dark-skinned people.

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