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Valley Fever

What is Valley Fever?

Valley fever is a type of fungus infection. Valley fever usually affects the lungs. In severe cases, it can cause death.

Valley fever is also called coccidioidomycosis and disseminated valley fever.

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What causes Valley Fever?

Valley fever is caused by the fungus called Coccidioides immitis. It lives in soil and is spread via inhalation of airborne spores. If soil containing the valley fever fungus is disturbed by construction, natural disasters, or wind, the fungus spores get into the air. When people breathe in the spores, they can develop valley fever.

Valley fever is not spread from person to person.

The fungus that causes valley fever is commonly found in the soil of the southwestern United States, Mexico, and parts of Central and South America.

Symptoms of Valley Fever

In most cases, symptoms are not present. When symptoms are present, the most common symptoms of valley fever are:

  • fever
  • fatigue
  • cough
  • rash
  • loss of appetite
  • night sweating
  • chest pain
  • muscle aches and pains

Who is at risk for Developing Valley Fever?

Anyone can develop valley fever. However, farmers, construction workers, and others who engage in activities that disturb the soil are at highest risk for valley fever. People with compromised immune systems are also at a higher risk for contracting valley fever.

How is Valley Fever Diagnosed?

Valley fever is diagnosed through blood tests.

Can Valley Fever be Treated?

Yes. Valley fever is can be treated with fungus-killing medicines.

Can Valley fever be prevented?

Currently, there is no vaccine against valley fever.

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