Severe Coccidioidomycosis

Severe Coccidioidomycosis

Coccidioidomycosis is a fungal infection caused by the arthroconidia of a fungus called Coccidioides. It is also known as Valley Fever or San Joaquin Valley Fever, and is very common in the southwestern US and throughout Latin America. In some cases, the infection can progress to severe manifestations, including lung infections, meningitis, or tissue necrosis. In this article, we will discuss severe forms of Coccidioidomycosis, its risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment.

Risk Factors for Severe Coccidioidomycosis

Most people who are infected with Coccidioides are asymptomatic, but for those who do experience symptoms, the most common are fever, headache, and body aches. Certain factors, however, can increase the risk of more severe infection, such as:

  • A weakened immune system due to diabetes, HIV, cancer, or other conditions
  • Pregnancy
  • Advanced age
  • Being male
  • Hispanic or Native American race


Diagnosis of severe Coccidioidomycosis is made through physical examination and laboratory tests. To confirm a diagnosis, a doctor will take a sample of fluid from the infected area and send it to a laboratory for analysis. The doctor may also take an X-ray or CT scan of the affected area to look for any additional signs. If the diagnosis is confirmed, the doctor will likely order additional tests to understand the extent of the infection and rule out any underlying conditions that may need to be addressed.


Treatment for severe Coccidioidomycosis depends on the severity of the infection and the patient’s individual needs. In some cases, oral or intravenous antifungal medication may be prescribed. For more severe cases, hospitalization may be required for more aggressive treatments. Patients may also need to take antibiotics, blood pressure medicines, or steroids to reduce any inflammation caused by the infection. In some cases, surgery may also be necessary to remove any dead tissue.


Coccidioidomycosis is a fungal infection caused by the Coccidioides fungus. In many cases, the infection is asymptomatic or only results in mild symptoms, such as fever and body aches. However, certain factors can increase the risk of more severe manifestations, including a weakened immune system, pregnancy, or certain racial backgrounds. If diagnosed, the infection should be treated as soon as possible to reduce the risk of any complications. Treatment may include antifungal medications, antibiotics, and, in some cases, surgery.