VALLEY FEVER

Description

  • Fungal infection caused by coccidioides organisms
  • Spores enter the body through lungs
  • Spores are formed in warm, wet soils after periods of heavy rainfall

Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Chills
  • Night sweats
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Ankle, feet, and leg swelling
  • Painful, red lumps on lower legs
  • Joint stiffness
  • Muscle aches
  • Loss of appetite

Causes

  • Coccidioides immitis or Coccidioides posadasii
  • Anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy
  • Cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Glucocorticoid medications (prednisone)
  • Heart-lung conditions
  • HIV
  • Organ transplant

Risk Factors

  • Environmental exposure
  • Filipinos, Hispanics, blacks and Native Americans are more susceptible
  • Pregnancy
  • Weakened immune system
  • Older adults are more likely to develop valley fever

Diagnostic Tests

  • Blood tests
  • Chest X-ray
  • Sputum culture
  • Sputum smear
  • Biopsy of the lymp node, lung or liver
  • Bone marrow biopsy
  • Bronchoscopy with lavage

Treatment

  • Bed rest
  • Increasing fluids intake
  • Antifungal medications
  • Surgery (rare cases)

Medications

  • Fluconazole (Diflucan)
  • Itraconazole (Sporanox, Onmel)
  • Amphotericin B (Abelcet, Amphotec)
  • Voriconazole
  • Posaconazole (Noxafil)

Prevention

  • Wet soil with water before digging or gardening
  • Wear a filtration mask that can filter 0.4 micrometer size particles
  • Cover open dirt areas around the home with grass or plants
  • Wear a mask
  • Stay inside during dust storms
  • Keep doors and windows tightly closed