Back

Coccidioidomycosis

(Valley Fever)

Definition

Coccidioidomycosis, commonly called valley fever, is a potentially-serious lung infection.

Causes

Vally 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.

Risk Factors

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:

Symptoms

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.

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:
X-rays or CT scan may be done to see how much your lungs have been affected.

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:

Prevention

To help reduce your chance of getting valley fever:

RESOURCES

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org

Valley Fever Connections http://www.valley-fever.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

References

Ampel NM. New perspectives on coccidioidomycosis. Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2010;7(3):181-185.

Coccidioidomycosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 18, 2015. Accessed December 9, 2015.

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%5Ffor%5FPrimary%5Fcare%5FPhysicians.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.

Revision Information