Q:

What is valley fever?

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Quick Answer

Valley fever is a disease that is caused by coccidioides immitis fungus, states MedlinePlus. The infection occurs when coccidioides immiti fungus gets into the body via the lungs. Weakened immune system and travelling to areas with the fungi are the risk factors of getting infected with valley fever.

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Full Answer

Coccidioides posadasii and coccidioides immitis are the common species of fungi that causes valley fever, MedicineNet explains. The infection is acquired by inhalation via the respiratory system. The fungus grows in the soil and gets into air when the ground is broken notes WebMD. People who are at risk of getting infected include people who work in construction, in paleontology and on farms and people who drive off road.

Most people with valley fever may not have any symptom and may not seek medical attention, MedicineNet states. The few people with symptoms of valley fever may have flu-like symptoms such as cough, fever, chills and malaise. Other symptoms may include headache, night sweats, shortness of breath, and joint and muscle pains.

Tests done to examine milder forms of valley fever infection includes sputum cultures, chest X-rays and blood tests, according to MedlinePlus. Tests such as bone marrow biopsy, spinal tap, biopsy of the lymph nodes and lungs, and bronchoscopy with lavage are done for severe infections. Treatment for valley fever infection may include treating the flu like symptoms, bed rests, prescription of anti-fungals to people with weakened immune system. .

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