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Coccidioidomycosis - chronic pulmonary

  • Definition

    Chronic pulmonary coccidioidomycosis is a lung infection caused by breathing in the fungus Coccidioides.

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    The infection is caused by breathing in the spores of a fungus found in the soil in desert regions of the southwestern U.S., Mexico, and Central and South America. The disease can have an acute, chronic, or disseminated form.

    People get the chronic form months or years after having an infection that often is not diagnosed. Lung abscesses can form and may break open, causing pus in the lung cavity (empyema) or an abnormal connection between an air passage and the lung cavity (bronchopleural fistula). Scarring (fibrosis) and cavities can form in the upper lungs as chronic pulmonary coccidioidomycosis slowly gets worse over a period of months or years.

    Most pulmonary coccidioidomycosis infections do not become chronic.

    The following increase the risk for the chronic or disseminated forms of the disease:

    • African or Phillippine descent
    • Weak immune system
    • Pregnancy
    • Pre-existing heart or lung disease
    • Diabetes