Valley Fever

Coccidiomycosis is the correct name for a fungal infection found in areas such as the San Joaquin Valley. It is sometimes called San Joaquin Valley Fever. The spores are inhaled and later develop in the tissues of the lung.

The infection is self-limited and harmless to most who are infected. Two thirds of those infected do not develop any symptoms of the disease. Others will show effects to the tissues of the lungs. A rare few develop an over-whelming infection and sometimes die. The disease tends to be milder in children. Some children will show infection of their bones or the tissue surrounding the brain. The period of incubation is about 10 to 16 days. The illness might develop slowly or quickly with signs of influenza-like illness with fever, chills and body ache. The can be a persistent cough and painful sore throat. There might be headache, backache or chest pain.

There may be a fine red round rash or hives might appear within a day or so. The rash might last a few days only or appear as tender bumps. At the same time you might notice an arthritis or conjunctivitis.

Signs of pneumonia can appear. It is usually minor but can be quite severe.

The diagnosis of Valley Fever can be made by skin test but a negative test does not rule out Valley fever so I will order a complete cocci blood test. This will be more accurate and gives dependable results.

There is no treatment recommend for primary, uncomplicated Valley Fever. Rest is helpful, but not is not required. You can only contract the disease by breathing the infectious spores and will not be contagious to others will the disease is active. One infection should establish immunity for future infections. There is no effective vaccine for this disease.