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Coccidioidomycosis is a fungal infection caused by inhalation of the fungus Coccidioides immitis. C. immitis grows as a mold in the soil. When the soil is disturbed, the mold hyphae fragment, forming structures that become airborne. If inhaled by animals or humans, they transform into thick-walled spheres that produce thousands of endospores, which are capable of reproducing. Epidemics of coccidioidomycosis have occurred following large-scale soil disturbances caused by dust storms, earthquakes, and excavations.

In persons with competent immune systems, the majority of infections produce no symptoms or mild, self-limited upper respiratory tract illness. At least two-thirds of coccidioidal infections go unnoticed. Moderate to severe illness involving the lower respiratory tract takes several weeks to develop. Acute infections usually resolve without therapy within a few weeks or months. In 5-10% of persons, however the infection progresses to chronic pulmonary disease or disseminates via the blood or lymph circulation to the skin, bones, meninges, or other sites.

Acute infections usually resolve without therapy within a few weeks or months. However, when the infection progresses to chronic pulmonary disease or disseminates, antibiotic treatment is required.

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