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A fungus is traditionally defined as a unique microorganism that survives by consuming the decomposed materials in which it lives. While most fungi are considered to be relatively benign, there are a few that can pose serious health risks to humans. Over the past few years, a rare breed of fungus, called Coccidioides, has begun to cause serious illness in men and women around the world. To prevent serious health complications, individuals should be aware of the fungus, signs and symptoms of infection, and its prognosis.
In most cases, it is through the inhalation of fungal spores that serious illness occurs in men and women. The same is true for those who have been exposed to Coccidiodes, the fungus behind the development of a rare but deadly condition known as valley fever. Though individuals can contract valley fever in any number of places, the rates of infection are especially high for those who live in or travel to Arizona and southern California on a frequent basis. Over the past few years, the documented cases of valley fever have increased drastically—leading some to believe that the fungus may be “morphing” in its toxicity.
Who is at Risk?
So who, exactly, is at risk for the development of valley fever? Are there specific population groups that are more likely to contract this illness than others? In addition to individuals who live in the regions listed above, most experts agree that men and women who are of African American or Asian descent are most likely to contract this serious illness. In addition, pregnant women, the elderly, and others with a weakened immune system can also be at risk for the development of valley fever.
Signs and Symptoms
As with most other acute health conditions, there are a number of signs and symptoms associated with the occurrence of valley fever. Among these include the development of a fever, cough, headache, muscle aches, or joint pain. Unfortunately, many of the signs and symptoms of valley fever are also associated with the common cold and flu, and may be ignored by those who are not in acute distress. When left untreated, the signs and symptoms of valley fever can progress into pneumonia, meningitis, and serious bone infection. In the most severe cases, coma and even possible death can occur in valley fever victims.
Obviously, valley fever is a serious health condition that poses major risks to men and women of all ages. While public health professionals are making efforts to eradicate this condition, awareness of valley fever is currently considered to be best in the prevention of this serious illness. Some experts hope that through additional research, the development of an effective vaccine to eradicate valley fever entirely will occur. Those who have suffered from vaccine injuries in the past should be cautioned to avoid those that target valley fever, even if they are at an increased risk for the development of the condition.
About the Author:
Andrew Miller is a passionate member of the End Ecocide movement, an avid legal blogger, travelor and Environmental Law Student. He has worked in marketing for over a decade and finds his passion in bringing concepts to life. As a Socialpreneur, he is an agent for positive social change through both his writing and business endeavors.
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