Coccidioidomycosis (valley fever): Causes, description, Treatment

General or Other | General Practice | Coccidioidomycosis (valley fever) (Disease)

Coccidioidomycosis (valley fever): Description

Coccidioidomycosis also known as Valley fever is a condition caused by a fungal infection due to coccidioides organisms.

Common symptoms include: ankle, feet, and leg swelling; chest pain, which can vary from mild to severe; cough, possibly producing blood-tinged phlegm (sputum); fever and night sweats; headache; joint stiffness and pain or muscle aches; loss of appetite; painful, red lumps on lower legs known as erythema nodosum; neck stiffness; sensitivity to light; and weight loss. Widespread coccidioidomycosis may cause: collections of pus in the lung, lung abscesses and scarring of the lung. Rarely, the infection spreads from the lungs through the bloodstream to involve the skin, bones, joints, lymph nodes, and central nervous system or other organs. This is called disseminated coccidioidomycosis.

Causes and Risk factors

The fungi that cause valley fever are Coccidioides immitis or Coccidioides posadasii and are common in areas with mild winters and arid summers such as the desert.

Increase risk factors are: environment exposure, race, age, pregnancy, diabetes and weakened immune system. The disease is usually mild, with flu-like symptoms and rashes.

Coccidioidomycosis (valley fever): Treatment and Diagnosis

The fungal infection can be recognized by microscopic detection of diagnostic cells in body fluids, exudates, sputum and biopsy-tissue.

The disease almost always goes away without treatment. If symptoms dont improve or become worse or if there is an increased risk of complications, antifungal medication can be prescribed

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