If you have been diagnosed with valley fever, here are seven more questions you may wish to go over with your physician:
1. Besides the Complete Blood Count (CBC) with differential WBC test that has been run for me, will I need to take any further tests to confirm my condition?
Though it depends on what your doctor orders, generally speaking you will have to have a combination of tests to confirm the type of fungal disease you have and under which grouping it is classified.
2. So what are these other diagnostic tests I may need to take?
• Diagnosis is effective using a chest X-ray which will show the places the lung is infected and where the spores of the fungi have lodged themselves.
• 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.
• A test called the Coccidioidin skin test or a Spherulin skin test was a prevalent technique of diagnosis till some years back but is now rarely used.
3. What is the Serum Coccidioides Complement Fixation Titer test?
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.
4. What medications will I be given?
This depends on your doctor and your individual case. However, courses of AmphotericinB IV or Fluconazole are often prescribed. Other drugs found equally effective are Ketoconazole, Voriconazole, and Posaconazole. Dosages, mode of intake, timings and potency will be dictated by your doctor.
5. Do you see any complications arise in my case?