Definitions

Coccidioides_immitis

Coccidioides immitis

Coccidioides immitis is a pathogenic fungus that resides in the soil in certain parts of the southwestern United States, northern Mexico, and a few other areas in the Western Hemisphere.

It, along with its relative Coccidioides posadasii, can cause a disease called coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever), and it is a rare cause of meningitis, mostly in immunocompromised persons. It has been declared a select agent by both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and is considered a biosafety level 3 pathogen.

In Literature

Coccidioides immitis is used as a plot device in Thunderhead, a novel by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. The fungus (prepared from infected victims) is revealed to be the principal agent in corpse powder (based on corpse poison used by Witch (Navajo)). It was also mentioned by Hugh Laurie on the Television Series, House MD.

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