OK so since the news of Ike Davis being treated as if he has "Valley Fever" pending the results of earlier tests he took. "Valley Fever" started to trend worldwide on Twitter. So I decided to go to the most reliable source I know "The Center for Disease Control and Prevention" to get some intel on the topic. Here are 6 things you may want to know.What is coccidioidomycosis?
Coccidioidomycosis, also known as Valley Fever, is a fungal disease caused by Coccidioides species. These organisms live in the soil of semiarid areas. It is endemic in areas such as the southwestern United States, parts of Mexico and South America. It is a reportable disease in states where the disease is endemic, such as California, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada. Of people who live in an endemic region, about 10-50% will have evidence of exposure to Coccidioides.
How do coccidioidomycosis infections spread?
People get infected with Coccidioides by inhaling fungal spores that become airborne after disturbance of contaminated soil by humans or natural disasters (e.g., dust storms and earthquakes).
Is coccidioidomycosis contagious?
No, the infection is not spread from person to person, or from animals to people. The infectious form of the fungus exists when the fungus grows in the environment. The fungus changes its form when it infects a person, and this form cannot be transmitted from one person to another.It is important to note, however, that Coccidioides growing in culture as a mold in the laboratory may cause infection in laboratory personnel if the cultures are not handled properly and the appropriate precautions are not taken.
What are the symptoms of coccidioidomycosis?
About 60% of infections do not cause any symptoms. People who develop symptoms may experience a flu-like illness, with fever, cough, headache, rash and muscle aches. Most people make a full recovery, within weeks to months of symptom onset, but a small number of people may develop chronic pulmonary infection or widespread disseminated infection. When the infection spreads outside of the lungs, it most commonly results in skin lesions, central nervous system infection, such as meningitis, and bone and joint infection. Some people are at increased risk for developing disseminated infection: people of African-American, Asian or Filipino descent appear to be at increased risk, as do pregnant women during the third trimester and immunocompromised persons.
How is coccidioidomycosis diagnosed?
There are a number of different ways to diagnose the infection. Your doctor may take a specimen of blood or other body fluid to look for antibodies against the fungus that causes coccidioidomycosis (called a “serological” test). Another way to diagnose coccidioidomycosis is to do a biopsy of the affected tissue. The tissue can be examined under a microscope to look for the fungus. A culture of tissue or body fluids can also be performed.
How is coccidioidomycosis treated?
Symptoms from the acute infection may resolve on their own without treatment. However, some doctors prefer to prescribe antifungal drugs, such as fluconazole, to treat patients with acute, uncomplicated coccidioidomycosis. There is not enough information about whether treating acute, uncomplicated pulmonary coccidioidomycosis is beneficial or not, although many experts feel that persons at risk for developing severe disease should receive treatment. Antibacterial drugs do not treat coccidioidomycosis.In more severe infections, treatment with antifungal drugs is necessary. People who have pneumonia from coccidioidomycosis affecting both lungs, people who have disseminated disease, and people who have chronic pneumonia all need treatment.