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A Disease Without a Cure Spreads Quietly in the West

usa coccidioidomycosis fungal disease microscopic spores centers for disease control genetic susceptibility

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#1 Hum

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 14:09

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — In 36 years with the Los Angeles police, Sgt. Irwin Klorman faced many dangerous situations, including one routine call that ended with Uzi fire and a bullet-riddled body sprawled on the living room floor.

 But his most life-threatening encounter has been with coccidioidomycosis, or valley fever, for which he is being treated here. Coccidioidomycosis, known as “cocci,” is an insidious airborne fungal disease in which microscopic spores in the soil take flight on the wind or even a mild breeze to lodge in the moist habitat of the lungs and, in the most extreme instances, spread to the bones, the skin, the eyes or, in Mr. Klorman’s case, the brain.

The infection, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled “a silent epidemic,” is striking more people each year, with more than 20,000 reported cases annually throughout the Southwest, especially in California and Arizona. Although most people exposed to the fungus do not fall ill, about 160 die from it each year, with thousands more facing years of disability and surgery. About 9 percent of those infected will contract pneumonia and 1 percent will experience serious complications beyond the lungs.

The disease is named for the San Joaquin Valley, a cocci hot spot, where the same soil that produces the state’s agricultural bounty can turn traitorous. The “silent epidemic” became less silent last week when a federal judge ordered the state to transfer about 2,600 vulnerable inmates — including some with H.I.V. — out of two of the valley’s eight state prisons, about 90 miles north of here. In 2011, those prisons, Avenal and Pleasant Valley, produced 535 of the 640 reported inmate cocci cases, and throughout the system, yearly costs for hospitalization for cocci exceed $23 million.

In Arizona, a study from the Department of Health Services showed a 25 percent risk of African-Americans with newly diagnosed valley fever developing complications, compared with 6 percent of whites.

“The working hypothesis has to do with genetic susceptibility, probably the interrelationships of genes involved in the immune system,” said Dr. John N. Galgiani, a professor at the University of Arizona and the director of the Valley Fever Center for Excellence, founded in 1996. “But which ones? We’re clueless.”

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#2 +_Alexander

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 14:25

Oh that is not as bad as the headline makes it seem



#3 redvamp128

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 14:30

Oh that is not as bad as the headline makes it seem

 

valleyfever.jpg



#4 +_Alexander

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 14:44

valleyfever.jpg

"most people exposed to the fungus do not fall ill"



#5 redvamp128

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 15:08

"most people exposed to the fungus do not fall ill"

 

 

What made it more serious is that - The prison had a population that was 10% HIV plus also they were exposed daily to the Fungus unlike a normal person that would not be.  They probably were surrounded by it.    I read another report besides the one posted here as well as a report from the CDC.  That said that 80% of people exposed are hospitalized.after initial exposure to the fungus.  This is a primary cause of sinus infections and lost time at work.  

 

Simple suggestion when mowing one should wear a mask.  



#6 OP Hum

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 22:12

^ Mowing with dew on the grass might help too.



#7 BetaAddict

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 23:01

"most people exposed to the fungus do not fall ill"

 

Yep, C. immitis is a opportunistic pathogen, meaning that it will only affect people who are immunocompromised, such as HIV, TB, diabetes, and elderly. It should also be noted that we are breathing in millions of fungal spores of other species daily as well, but do not become ill so long as you have a healthy immune system.





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