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Valley Fever is a disease caused by a fungus (or mold) called Coccidioides. The fungi live in the soil of dry areas like the southwestern U.S. You get it from inhaling the spores of the fungus. The infection cannot spread from person to person.
Anyone can get Valley Fever. But it's most common among older adults, especially those 60 and older. People who have recently moved to an area where it occurs are at highest risk for infection. Other people at higher risk include
- Workers in jobs that expose them to soil dust. These include construction workers, agricultural workers, and military forces doing field training.
- African Americans and Asians
- Women in their third trimester of pregnancy
- People with weak immune systems
Valley Fever is often mild, with no symptoms. If you have symptoms, they may include a flu-like illness, with fever, cough, headache, rash, and muscle aches. Most people get better within several weeks or months. A small number of people may develop a chronic lung or widespread infection.
Valley Fever is diagnosed by testing your blood, other body fluids, or tissues. Many people with the acute infection get better without treatment. In some cases, doctors may prescribe antifungal drugs for acute infections. Severe infections require antifungal drugs.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) Risk and Prevention (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Available in Spanish
- Travelers' Health: Coccidioidomycosis (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Paracoccidioidomycosis (Merck & Co., Inc.)
Statistics and Research
- Fungal Pneumonia: A Silent Epidemic Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF
- Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) Statistics (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Available in Spanish
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Coccidioidomycosis (National Institutes of Health)