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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2003 Feb 14;52(6):109-12.

Increase in coccidioidomycosis--Arizona, 1998-2001.


Coccidioidomycosis is a systemic infection caused by inhalation of airborne spores from Coccidioides immitis, a fungus found in soil in the southwestern United States and in parts of Mexico and Central and South America. Infection occurs usually following activities or natural events that disrupt the soil, resulting in aerosolization of the fungal arthrospores. Clinical manifestations occur in 40% of infected persons and range from an influenza-like illness (ILI) to severe pneumonia and, rarely, extrapulmonary disseminated disease. Persons at higher risk for disseminated disease include blacks, Filipinos, pregnant women in their third trimester, and immunocompromised persons. During 2001, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) reported a coccidioidomycosis incidence of 43 cases per 100,000 population, representing an increase of 186% since 1995. To characterize this increase, CDC analyzed data from the National Electronic Telecommunications System for Surveillance (NETSS) and the Arizona Hospital Discharge Database (AHDD), and environmental and climatic data, and conducted a cohort study of a random sample of patients with coccidioidomycosis. This report summarizes the findings of this investigation, which indicate that the recent Arizona coccidioidomycosis epidemic is attributed to seasonal peaks in incidence that probably are related to climate. Healthcare providers in Arizona should be aware that peak periods of coccidioidomycosis incidence occur during the winter and should consider testing patients with ILI.

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