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Coccidioidomycosis - Chem-Bio-Rad Suspicion
See also in: Overview
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Coccidioidomycosis - Chem-Bio-Rad Suspicion

See also in: Overview
Contributors: Neil Mendoza MD, Paritosh Prasad MD, Michael Sean Antonis DO, Belinda Tan MD, PhD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Synopsis

Coccidioidomycosis, also known as desert fever, valley fever, or desert rheumatism, is a deep fungal infection caused by the dimorphic fungi Coccidioides immitis and Coccidioides posadasii acquired via the respiratory, aerosolized route. Natural infections are often asymptomatic, especially in children. High initial spore exposure, as would be seen following a bioterrorism attack, has been documented to produce a more severe illness that includes diffuse pneumonia, respiratory failure, and a septic shock-like syndrome. As an agent of bioterrorism, the most likely method of dispersal would be as an aerosol.

Coccidioidomycosis is endemic in the southwestern United States (with many cases in Arizona, the San Joaquin Valley in California, New Mexico, and west Texas), with sporadic cases in places where the disease is not endemic (some cases may be due to reactivation of infection acquired in an endemic area). In 2016, rates of coccidioidomycosis increased in California, primarily affecting residents of the Central Valley and Central Coast regions. While individuals 40-59 years of age had the highest incidence, the largest increase in incidence (compared with 2015) occurred in persons younger than 40 and, in particular, younger than 20.

Of infected individuals, approximately one-half to two-thirds are asymptomatic. The remaining infected individuals develop an acute or subacute community-acquired pneumonia 1-3 weeks after exposure. The clinical presentation includes dry cough, pleuritic chest pain, myalgia, arthralgia, fever, sweats, anorexia, and weakness. An erythematous rash, erythema multiforme, and erythema nodosum may be seen. Infection is typically self-limited, lasting weeks, and can resolve without therapy. The illness is often indistinguishable from common bacterial or viral pneumonias, although marked fatigue may persist for weeks to months following illness. As a consequence of infection, 5%-10% may develop pulmonary nodules.

Of those symptomatic, 1 in 200 will develop extrapulmonary disease that can spread via hematogenous dissemination to subcutaneous tissues, bone, skin, and meninges. Disease dissemination appears to be more common in those of African or Filipino ancestry than in those of Northern European ancestry but is markedly higher in the immunocompromised host (30%-50% chance of dissemination). Disseminated disease may run a remittent or fulminant course and progress to meningitis, miliary lung granulomas, or hydrocephalus. The mortality rate is greater than 90% after 1 year without therapy. Meningitis requires lifelong therapy to prevent relapse and associated morbidity / mortality.

Primary inoculation coccidioidomycosis is rare, may appear chancriform, and is generally self-limited but may rarely be complicated by meningitis or miliary lung granulomas.

Pregnant individuals may be at increased risk of severe illness from coccidioidomycosis. Coccidioidomycosis acquired during the latter half of pregnancy is more likely to disseminate.

Codes

ICD10CM:
B38.9 – Coccidioidomycosis, unspecified

SNOMEDCT:
60826002 – Coccidioidomycosis

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Last Updated:08/12/2021
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Coccidioidomycosis - Chem-Bio-Rad Suspicion
See also in: Overview
A medical illustration showing key findings of Coccidioidomycosis : Chest pain, Cough, Fever, Headache, Night sweats, Smooth papule, Verrucous scaly plaque, Arthralgia, Dyspnea
Clinical image of Coccidioidomycosis - imageId=797696. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'A deep pink nodule on the dorsal hand.'
A deep pink nodule on the dorsal hand.
Copyright © 2023 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.