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Valley Fever

Valley fever is caused by fungi in the soil. The fungi that cause valley fever can be stirred into the air by anything that disrupts the soil, such as farming, construction and wind. The fungi can then be breathed into the lungs. Valley fever is a form of coccidioidomycosis (kok-sid-e-oi-doh-mi-KOH-sis), or cocci (KOK-si) infection. It can cause fever, chest pain and coughing, among other signs and symptoms.

More than half of those who inhale the valley fever fungi have few, if any, problems. But some, especially pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems, and those of Asian, Hispanic and African descent, may develop a more serious and sometimes fatal form of coccidioidomycosis infection.

Mild cases of valley fever usually go away on their own. In more severe coccidioidomycosis infections, doctors prescribe antifungal medications that can treat the underlying infection.

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