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Valley Fever (Coccidiodomycosis) – Part 2

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Confirming Valley Fever (Medical term: Coccidiodomycosis) requires a combination of tests.

Diagnosis is effective using a Chest X-ray which will show the places the lung is infected where the spores of the fungi have lodged themselves.

A Complete Blood Count with differential WBC count is required. There are five different types of white blood cells – lymphocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils, monocytes and basophils - , each with its own function in protecting us from infection. A differential reading shows us which infection group a disease belongs to.

A sputum culture is also prescribed especially if the symptoms include the presence of blood-stained sputum while coughing.

A variation is the Potassium Hydroxide sputum smear test where fungi are detected by dissolving human cells obtained from the sputum in a culture.

Serum Coccidioides Complement Fixation Titer test may be prescribed as well. This tests the serum of the blood for the presence of antibodies which may have been produced to counter the antigen Coccidioides immitis. In the case where antibodies have been produced they will fix themselves to tackle the C. immitis antigen. In some cases a repeat test may be done after several weeks to check if the infection is still active through reading the titer or antibody concentration per volume of blood.
A test called the Coccidioidin skin test or a Spherulin skin test was a prevalent technique of diagnosis until some years back but is now rarely used.

Treating mild Valley Fever primarily involves bed rest and mild medication to tackle symptomatic afflictions.

However, the more severe DC is given courses of AmphotericinB IV, Fluconazole. Other drugs found equally effective are Ketoconazole, Voriconazole, Posaconazole,etc.

Complications can occur prior, during or in the immediate post-treatment period of Valley Fever and they range from dissemination in the body of the fungus, relapse and pleural effusion (where the pus leaks out into the spaces between the lung and the ribs). It is also possible that treatment with intravenous (IV) Amphotericin B may cause adverse and acute side effects such as nausea, fever and kidney malfunction.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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