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CDC: Greater Awareness of Valley Fever Needed Nationally

Delays in diagnosis, unnecessary antibiotics, prolonged illness common

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WEDNESDAY, Aug. 29, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Greater nationwide awareness of the fungal infection Valley fever (coccidioidomycosis) is needed, according to a report published in the August issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Kaitlin Benedict, from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted enhanced surveillance in 14 states in 2016 by identifying coccidioidomycosis cases according to the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists case definition and interviewing patients about their demographic characteristics, clinical features, and exposures.

The researchers found that among 186 identified patients, median time from seeking health care to diagnosis was 38 days (range, one to 1,654 days). Seven in 10 patients had another condition diagnosed before coccidioidomycosis testing occurred, of whom the vast majority (83 percent) were prescribed antibacterial medications, 43 percent were hospitalized, and 29 percent had culture-positive coccidioidomycosis. The majority of patients from non-endemic states (83 percent) had traveled to a coccidioidomycosis-endemic area.

"Improved coccidioidomycosis awareness in non-highly endemic areas is needed," the authors write.

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