What is Coccidioidomycosis?

Coccidioidomycosis (Cocci) is a lung infection that is specifically caused by inhaling spores of a fungus called coccidioides immitis. The fungus exists in California and the southwestern United States, as well as areas in Central and South America.

This lung disease is not a contagious illness. And, not unlike chicken pox, this disease only occurs once in an individual, because the body develops immunity to it after the first incidence.

While it is not generally a fatal disease, it can lead to pneumonia. Some individuals, though few, actually experience a spreading of the infection to other areas of the body like bones, skin, and even in the membranes around the brain and spinal cord, causing meningitis.

Many people go through the infection without even knowing they had it. They may believe they just had the flu. Only a small handful of people actually develop the serious version of cocci that will be diagnosed.

Enveloped in the warm environment of the lungs, the inhaled spores actually grow into pods. Once the pods reach maturity they burst open, releasing very tiny seeds throughout the lungs. The seeds can spread to other areas causing inflammation and damage wherever they go.

Information on this page is for reference and educational purposes only. For more information about coccidioidomycosis, talk to your doctor or primary care provider.

About Scott Ridl: Scott joined American Medical Sales and Rentals in 2008 as a Web Manager and Content Writer. He is a writer and designer. He is extensively trained on oxygen therapy products from leading manufacturers such as Inogen, Respironics, Chart, Invacare, ResMed and more. Scott works closely with respiratory therapists and oxygen specialists to educate the community about oxygen therapy products, COPD, asthma and lung diseases. He writes weekly columns and is passionate about educating the community on oxygen therapy and respiratory issues.

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