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Coccidioidomycosis a Common Cause of Pneumonia

In study of Arizona respiratory patients, 29 percent have coccidioidomycosis

FRIDAY, May 26 (HealthDay News) -- Coccidioidomycosis, or valley fever, is a common cause of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in regions where Coccidioides fungi are endemic, such as Arizona, California, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico and in Central and South America, researchers report in the June issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Lisa Valdivia, M.D., of the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, and colleagues conducted an observational study of adults in Arizona who had recently developed chronic lower respiratory tract symptoms.

Laboratory testing revealed that 29 percent of the patients, or 16 out of 55, had valley fever, the researchers report. Eighty-one percent of the patients were treated with antimicrobial drugs. But with symptoms of the disease insufficient to rely on, physicians needed serological testing results to make treatment decisions.

"Valley fever is a common cause of CAP after exposure in a disease-endemic region," the authors write. "If CAP develops in persons who travel or reside in Coccidioides-endemic regions, diagnostic evaluation should routinely include laboratory evaluation for this organism."

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