Valley fever is also known as coccidioidomycosis and it is caused by fungi, named C. posadasii and Coccidioides immitis species. This particular species is in the body of around 50%-75% of healthy people that causes zero to negligible symptoms and some people infected with these fungi never require medical care.
When signs and symptoms start getting worse, the affected people can develop lung issues, including the breathing shortness, cough, fever, chest pains, and production of sputum and it can eventually result in acute or progressive lung disorder and it might even result in disseminated lining tissue of the meninges, skeleton, skin along with other body parts. We already know that valley fever can also attack different kinds of animals, including cattle, dogs, monkeys, and otters.
Most of the microbiologists, as well as the physicians of infectious disease, prefer the term ‘coccidioidomycosis’ instead of valley fever, as this term describes it as a particular fungal disease and it can completely replace the term valley fever in the upcoming days. However, valley fever is also known as various names, including San Joaquin Valley fever, acute valley fever, desert fever, and California valley fever. Don’t get confused between valley fever and African or rift valley fever (developed by a virus).
Symptoms of Valley Fever
Around 30%-35% of individuals develop flu-like symptoms, including a cough, fever, chills, and malaise that can get resolved more than two to six weeks without getting treated. Some people might develop additional signs and symptoms, including the breathing shortness, headaches, night sweats, muscle and joint pains, and sputum production. The symptoms of valley fever resemble pneumonia.
Women might develop erythema nodosum (tender, painful, and reddish lumps specifically on the legs) or erythema multiforme (a type of allergic reaction resembles erythema nodosum, developed various body parts, accompanied rash) more than men.
The amalgamation of fever, erythema nodosum, as well as migratory joint pains, is many times termed as “desert rheumatism.” These symptoms generally get resolved in around two to six weeks.
Chronic coccidioidomycosis develops in around 8% of patients and it is also characterized by the aforementioned signs and symptoms, however, developments towards the volume loss of lungs, scarring or fibrosis and inflammation are regarded as acute complications associated with valley fever.
Disseminated coccidioidomycosis (around 1% of scenarios) can be termed by the aforementioned signs and symptoms, however, these symptoms might be developed more than weeks to years. The fungi might be discovered in any of the organ systems but they are basically seen in the bones, meninges, and skin. In some people, valley fever becomes fatal. The disseminated disease develops most prominently in immunosuppressed people, pregnant ladies, and males.
Other mammals, such as dogs can also get infected. Around 28% of dogs up to the 2 years of age might get affected by valley fever and around 6% of these dogs show the symptoms like the breathing shortness, cough, alleviated appetite, and listlessness. The issue of valley fever might get progressed and so it’s very important to consult a doctor as soon as possible.