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Coccidioides is a genus of dimorphic ascomycete, cause of Coccidioidomycosis, also known as San Joaquin Valley Fever, an infectious fungal disease largely confined to the Western Hemisphere and endemic in the Southwestern United States. The host acquires the disease via respiratory inhalation of spores disseminated in their natural habitat. The causative agents of coccidioidomycosis are Coccidioides immitis and Coccidioides posadasii. Both C. immitas and C. posadasii are non-distinguishable during laboratory testing and commonly referred in literature as Coccidioides.
Coccidioidomycosis which is caused by Coccidioides pathogenes is amazingly diverse in terms of its scope of clinical presentation, as well as clinical severity. 60% of Coccidioides infections as determined by serologic conversion are asymptomatic. The most common clinical syndrome in the other 40% of infected patients is an acute respiratory illness characterized by fever, cough, and pleuritic pain. Skin manifestations, such as erythema nodosum, are also common with Coccidioides infection. Coccidioides infection can cause a severe and difficult to-treat meningitis in AIDS and other immunocompromised patients, and occasionally in immunocompetent hosts. Infection can sometimes cause acute respiratory distress syndrome and fatal multilobar pneumonia. The risk of symptomatic infection increases with age.
The primary Coccidioidomycosis endemic areas are located in Southern California and Southern Arizona, and also in northern Mexico, in the states of Sonora, Nuevo León, Coahuila and Baja California, where it resides in soil. Both Coccidioides immitis and Coccidioides posadasii were viewed as desert saprophytes, however, recent genomic research revealed that Coccidioides evolved interacting with their animal hosts.
- "Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever)". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Retrieved 11 July 2013.
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