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Causes, Symptoms of Valley Fever

Valley fever, also called coccidioidomycosis is a fungal infection caused by the fungus Coccidioides. This fungus is known to survive in the soil found in the Southwestern United States, parts of Mexico and Central and South America. powered by Rubicon Project As per the reports by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 14,364 cases of valley fever were reported in Arizona, in 2017. People who are above the age of 60 are more likely to get valley fever.

Valley fever is caused by the fungus Coccidioides immitis or Coccidioides posadasii that grows as a mould in the soil. The mould can live in harsh climate conditions such as cold, heat or drought. It has long filaments that break off and become airborne as spores, usually when the soil is disturbed by farming, construction and wind. The wind can blow these spores for hundred of miles and breathing in the spores can lead to valley fever.

Types Of Valley Fever

Acute coccidioidomycosis – This type of valley fever is often mild and has few symptoms that show up one to three weeks after exposure [2] .

Chronic coccidioidomycosis – If acute coccidioidomycosis isn’t treated on time, it may progress to a chronic form of pneumonia. It mostly develops in people with a weakened immune system [3] .

Disseminated coccidioidomycosis – This happens when the infection spreads from the lungs to other parts of the body, affecting the skin, bones, brain, liver, heart and the membranes in the brain and spinal cord [4] .

Symptoms Of Valley Fever

Night sweats

Fever

Cough

Chest pain

Chills

Headache

Joint ache

Fatigue

Red rash

Weight loss

Low-grade fever

Painful lesions in the skull or spine

Meningitis Painful, swollen joints

Ulcers and skin lesions

Risk Factors Of Valley Fever [5]

People with weakened immunity

Diabetic people

Pregnant women

Environmental exposure

People of African-American and Filipino origin have higher chances of getting this disease

People who are 60 and older