CDC Presentation

CDC Presentation

Death from Fungus in the Soil Dr. Shira Shafir Assistant Professor of Epidemiology UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Based on the article Coccidioidomycosis-associated Deaths, United States, 19902008 Jennifer Y. Huang, Benjamin Bristow, Shira Shafir, and Frank Sorvillo Emerging Infectious Diseases November 2012 National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases Emerging Infectious Diseases What is coccidioidomycosis? Coccidioidomycosis, also known as cocci or valley fever, is a disease primarily in the lungs

caused by the fungus Coccidioides. found in the soil of dry, low rainfall areas. endemic in many parts of the Southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central and South America. Many people in these areas get exposed to the fungus at some point in their lives. For most people who get infected, the infection will go away on its own. However, certain groups of people may develop severe or disseminated infections or chronic pneumonia, Who is most likely to get coccidioidomycosis? People who are at risk for infection with Coccidioides are: Anyone who lives in, visits, or travels through the

endemic areas. People whose occupations involve being outdoors or disturbing the soil, such as archeologists, military personnel, construction workers, and farmers. The risk of infection increases when the amount of dust in the air increases, such as after earthquakes, dust storms, droughts, or other natural disasters. People who are at higher risk for severe or disseminated disease are: People with compromised or suppressed immune systems, like those having HIV, those receiving corticosteroids, and pregnant women (particularly those Is coccidioidomycosis considered a major cause of death in the US?

While coccidioidomycosis has the potential to be severe and fatal, the number of deaths in the United States associated with this disease is limited. Over an 18-year period, about 3,100 deaths related to this disease occurred. Who is most likely to die from coccidioidomycosis? Native Americans and Hispanics Anyone over the age of 65 years

People who have conditions of a compromised immune system, including HIV, tuberculosis, diabetes mellitus, autoimmune diseases, organ transplant, and cancers of lymphatic cells Why are some people more likely to die from coccidioidomycosis than others? It may be because: Certain groups are at an increased risk of exposure. Certain groups might have an increased risk of severe disease. Some groups may have both increased risk of exposure and severe disease. People over the age of 65 since their immune systems do not function as well, and they tend to have other

medical conditions. o People in Arizona and California are more likely to die of coccidioidomycosis. It could be because they are more likely to get the disease in the first place, and both places are popular for people to retire. How does a person get coccidioidomycosis? A person can get the disease via inhalation of fungal spore. The fungal spores become airborne when the soil is disturbed by winds, construction, farming, and other activities. Infection occurs when a spore is inhaled. Within the lung, the spore changes into a larger, multicellular structure called a spherule. The spherule in the lung will grow and eventually burst,

releasing endospores, which develop into more spherules. Valley fever symptoms generally occur within three weeks of exposure. Where are the spores most likely to be found? Coccidioides species are found in lower elevation areas: receiving less than 20 inches of rain per year having warm, sandy soil They are usually found 412 inches below surface.

They are able to grow better if there are animal droppings present in the soil. The soil is the natural reservoir for these spores. Is the spread of the spores related to temperature or seasons? Blowing dust may carry the infectious spores of cocci anytime throughout the year. However, certain times were noticed to have an increased risk, linked to the amount of

rainfall. The time that the most cases reported are: In Arizona, during JuneAugust and OctoberNovember In California, during summer months (JuneAugust) What was the purpose of the study about coccidioidomycosis-associated deaths? To figure out if there were any reasons or risk factors that made it more likely that someone would die from coccidioidomycosis. How was the study conducted?

Analyzing US death certificates from 19902008 by looking at: Demographic information Geographic information Causes of deaths Examining and comparing the death certificate data to the US Census data to calculate mortality rates. Conducting a case-control study by comparing people who died of coccidioidomycosis to randomly chosen people who died of other causes to determine the risk factors for coccidioidomycosis in a certain race, in a particular age group, in a particular state or region, and in some groups who What could the health community be

doing to improve outcomes for those who get the disease? The important thing is rapid diagnosis by: Encouraging people who have been living, visiting, or traveling in the areas where infection occurs to see the doctor if they are not feeling well. Encouraging doctors to test for the disease. There should be continued research into a vaccine and better treatments for the infection. Good reporting of the disease helps to give more information about where the disease is occurring and who is getting sick.

What are the signs and symptoms of coccidioidomycosis? Less than half of all infected people will not experience any symptoms, or they will have very mild flu-like symptoms that go away on their own. However, when symptoms do occur, they can be serious. They may include fever, cough, headache, muscle aches, joint pain in the knees and ankles, and a rash on the upper trunk or extremities. People who are infected may have none, some, or all of these symptoms. The symptoms usually appear between one and three

weeks after exposure to the fungus. If the disease advances, it can cause skin lesions, chronic pneumonia, meningitis, and bone and joint infection. It is important to go to the doctor to get a reliable What can individuals do to protect themselves from coccidioidomycosis? It is very difficult to avoid exposure to Coccidioides, but people who live in endemic regions should try to avoid dusty environments.

People who are at risk for severe disease can: wear an N95 mask when in or near a dusty environment, such as a construction zone. try to avoid activities that involve close contact with dust (yard work, gardening, digging). use air quality improvement measures indoors, such as HEPA filters. if necessary, ask doctor for prophylactic anti-fungal medication. clean skin injuries well with soap and water, especially if they have been exposed to soil or dust, since it is possible Thank you to all authors Jennifer Y. Huang, Benjamin Bristow, Shira Shafir, and Frank Sorvillo For more information, please contact: Emerging Infectious Diseases Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1600 Clifton Road NE, Mailstop D61, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA

Telephone: 1-404-639-1960/Fax: 1-404-639-1954 E-mail: [email protected] Web: The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases Emerging Infectious Diseases

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