Coccidioidomycosis (also called Valley fever) is a fungal infection. It can affect the lungs. In some people, the infection can be serious and needs treatment.
Valley fever is caused by a fungus found in the soil of certain areas. When soil with the fungus is disturbed, it gets into the air. From there, it can be inhaled into the lungs.
The disease cannot spread from person to person.
Valley fever is found in the southwestern and western U.S.. It is also found in parts of Central and South America. The risk is highest for people living, working, or traveling in those areas. Those most at risk are:
Those at risk of getting severe Valley fever are:
Most people with Valley fever have no symptoms. In those that do, symptoms happen 7 to 21 days after exposure. They may be:
Sometimes the fungus affects other parts of the body.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms, health, and travel history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include:
For many, Valley fever goes away on its own. Treatment depends on how severe the infection is. Options may be:
To reduce the risk of Valley fever in high risk areas:
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
About valley fever. Valley Fever Center for Excellence website. Available at http://vfce.arizona.edu/valley-fever-people/about-valley-fever. Accessed March 31, 2021.
Coccidioidomycosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/coccidioidomycosis . Accessed March 31, 2021.
Gabe LM, Malo J, et al. Diagnosis and management of coccidioidomycosis. Clin Chest Med. 2017;38(3):417-433.
Valley fever (coccidioidomycosis) risk & prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/coccidioidomycosis/risk-prevention.html. Accessed March 31, 2021.
Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP Last Updated: 3/31/2021