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Update on the Epidemiology of Coccidioidomycosis


Coccidioidomycosis is an illness caused by the soil-dwelling, dimorphic fungi, Coccidioides immitis and Coccidioides posadasii, which are found primarily in niche ecological zones of the Western Hemisphere. The bulk of infections due to Coccidioides are found within the endemic areas of Arizona, California, Mexico, and Central America. Outcomes run the gamut from asymptomatic to a self-limited or even chronic pulmonary process, up to severe disseminated, and life-threatening disease. Patients at particular risk include the elderly, pregnant women, and members of certain ethnicities. Recent changes in the epidemiology and our overall understanding of coccidioidomycosis that pose a particular challenge to healthcare professionals include the rising incidence of disease, identification of infections thought to be acquired outside the previously described zones of endemicity, and the risks posed to the immunosuppressed population due to the increasing use of immunomodulatory pharmaceutical agents.

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