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Coccidioidomycosis Valley Fever - Research Paper Example

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Coccidioidomycosis, or valley fever, is a disease that normally affects one’s lungs. Coccidioides cause the illness, which is a fungus. A hardy strain of this fungus has the ability to live for long under harsh conditions like drought and extreme heat and cold (Williams 41). …
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Coccidioidomycosis Valley Fever
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Download file to see previous pages It is spread through the air when its spores are disturbed by wind. It is estimated that 150,000 infections take place annually in the US, although roughly half of this do not present any symptoms. The fungus is found in South America, Central America, Mexico, and South Western US since these areas weather conditions and dust that allows for the growth of Coccidioides. People get this illness when they inhale dust that contains the spores of this fungus. This spores spread into the air when dust containing the fungus undergoes disturbance through construction work, digging, or strong winds (Williams 41). The illness is hard to prevent, and no vaccine exists at present, although efforts towards its development are continuing. This research paper seeks to use journal articles and boos to discuss the epidemiology, pathogenesis, types, diagnosis, treatment, complications, and use in biological warfare of Coccidioidomycosis. Region of Primary Location The map provided below shows areas in the Americas where mass testing has revealed valley fever as an endemic illness. Taking note of the fact that two thirds of cases in the United States are found in Arizona with Tucson and Phoenix being the most affected is essential. In California, the endemic area is Kern County (Tabor 27). There are also areas of high endemic occurrences in Northwestern Mexico, South America, and Central America. In addition, it has been known for environmental conditions to spread spores across hundreds of miles and cause infection. The mass testing that identified the primary areas has not been done again for more than 50 years. Valley fever is restricted to America with an approximated 150,000 infections every year with the infection rates in the rest of the Americas currently unknown (Tabor 27). Approximately 25,000 new cases annually in the US lead to ~75 deaths annually. There are occasional epidemics with case numbers rising in Arizona, which may be related to people immigrating there. Outside of the United States, the most affected nations are Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Guatemala, and Mexico. (Williams 18) Epidemiology Valley fever is confined to areas that lie between 400N and 400S. The organism is particularly supported by dry and dusty soils in the lower sonaran life zone. Incidences of the organism’s occurrence increases significantly in periods where there is heavy rain followed by dry periods (Einstein & Catanzaro 23). The fungus is known to infect majority of the mammals, especially cats, dogs, and humans. Species such as marine mammals like the sea otter, llamas, and livestock have been found to be especially vulnerable to the valley fever fungus. Pathogenesis The valley fever fungus exists in the form of filaments in lab environments and soil. Cells that are found within the hyphae, over time, degenerate and form arthroconidia that are barrel shaped cells (Stevens 1079). These cells are light in weight and are transported by wind where they are easily inhalable sans knowledge of the individual. Once these cells arrive in the individual’s alveoli, they become larger, developing internal septations, whose structure is referred to as spherule and develop into endospores. Once these spherules rupture, the endosperms are released with the cycle being repeated, spreading a local infection. The nodules that at times form around the spherules could rupture, and their contents released, into the bronchus, to form cavities with thin walls. These cavities led to persistent coughs, haemoptysis, and chest pain (Stevens 1079). In people whose immunity is compromised, this infection could spread through the vascular system. Presentation Valley fever tends to mimic atypical ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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