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Valley Fever (cont.)

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Can valley fever (coccidioidomycosis) be prevented?

Research is progressing at several laboratories, but to date there is no vaccine available to prevent coccidioidomycosis in humans. People who live in endemic areas (see map in the last Web citation) of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas are likely to be exposed to the organisms since they occur in soil and dust. People who are more susceptible to the disease (for example, immunosuppressed people such as those with HIV/AIDS or cancer, the elderly, and pregnant females) should avoid new construction sites and stay indoors on dusty days. Soil in these areas can be moistened to prevent dust formation, and some investigators suggest that susceptible people should wear dust masks if dust exposure is likely. People who get the disease usually develop immunity to it, and unless their immune system is compromised, will not get the disease again.

Is valley fever (coccidioidomycosis) contagious?

Valley fever is not contagious person to person. People only become infected when they inhale arthroconidia (spores) of Coccidioides that settle in the lungs. Spores are easily dispersed and become airborne mixed with dust, especially on dusty, windy days and in areas where soil has been recently disturbed by construction or similar actions.

Where can one find more information on valley fever?

In California, Kern County developed a web site in 2013 devoted to valley fever because it is endemic. People who live there have about a 1%-3% chance per year of becoming infected.

Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease

REFERENCES: Valley Fever: Awareness is the Key. <>.

Correctional News. California Inmates Sue State Over Valley Fever, Again (08/20/2014). <>.

Hospenthal, Duane R. "Coccidioidomycosis." Sept. 13, 2013. <>.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever)." Oct. 21, 2013. <>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/18/2016


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