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Coccidioidomycosis

for Veterans and the Public

Coccidioidomycosis

This is a caused by a fungus present in soil in desert areas of Mexico and South America and in the southwestern United States, but risk of infection is highest in Kern and Tulare counties and the San Joaquin Valley in California.

The fungus is inhaled from dust and dirt carried in the air or wind, rather than passed from person to person. Most people don't have symptoms. Others will feel like they have the flu, sometimes with chest pain and a cough. Infection can lead to meningitis, including headache, fever, and altered mental states.

Treatment with antifungal drugs usually is given for life to prevent the infection from returning, even despite effective treatment with HIV medications. Sometimes surgery is required to remove infected tissue. The seriousness of the disease depends on what part or parts of the body the fungus has infected.