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Coccidioidomycosis - Research Paper Example

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Coccidioidomycosis Author Institution Coccidioidomycosis Introduction Coccidioidomycosis is a fungal infection, which occurs in humans and other animals as a result of inhaling fungal spores of the Coccidioides species. The two main species that cause Coccidioidomycosis are Coccidioidesimmitis and Coccidioidesposadasii…
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Download file to see previous pages... In areas regarded as Coccidioidomycosis “hot spots”, statistics indicate that over 70% of the populations in those areas have suffered from the infection. Coccidioidomycosis is relatively mild or even asymptomatic, but it can turn to be severe when it affects the elderly or immunocompromised. Etiology Coccidioidomycosis is caused by dimorphic, soil-borne, ascomycete fungi Coccidioidesimmitis and C.posadasii, which are soil-borne microorganisms. The two species differ in characteristics such as tolerance to heat and salt, but there is no any significant difference in their pathogenicity. The two species are soil saprophytes that propagate in semiarid regions that have sandy, alkaline soils. In the mold stage, Coccidioides species can survive under extreme environmental conditions such as alkaline, temperatures and high salinity conditions. However, these organisms fail to thrive well in the presence of other soil fungi and bacteria in conditions that do not make up their usual niche (Clemons, 2007). Growth of Coccidioides species is facilitated by two asexual reproductive structures, which are the arthrospore and endospores. The molds growing in the environment produce the arthrospore that are later dispersed by wind. In favorable environmental conditions, arthrospore germinate into new mycelia. ...
Epidemics are highly likely to occur when periods of heavy rains, which promote the growth of mycelia, are succeeded by seasons of drought and winds. Fully developed arthrospore are extremely resistant to harsh environmental conditions and remain viable in the environment for years in the soil and dust (Clemons, 2007). The arthroconidia infects the lungs to become spherules. The spherules increase in size creating a room for endospores to develop. After the spherules attain maturity, they rapture to release the endospores which form new spherules. In some cases, endospores can spread to other body parts through blood and lymph fluid causing systemic infection (Acton, 2011). In extremely rare occasions, Coccidiodomycosis can be spread directly between persons or from animals to human beings. Studies have shown that infections spread from one person to another are systemic in nature, which increases the chances of spreading. In other occasions, Coccidioides species can be transmitted through organ transplant (Clemons, 2007). Epidemiology Coccidioides species are endemic in certain regions of the Western Hemisphere. Nearly all the areas that are endemic lie between latitudes 400 North and 400 South (Friis & Sellers, 2009). The endemic areas have semiarid climates marked with hot summers and alkaline soils suitable for propagation of Coccidioides spores. Studies have found out that Coccidiodomycosis infections are not only affecting people living in the endemic regions, but have found their way to other non-endemic regions. This phenomenon is attributed to the increased travel of populations of people to the endemic regions. Persons from non-endemic regions get Coccidioidomycosis infections, but it becomes difficult to diagnose the condition in those areas since ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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