Submitted By deborahmc65
According to Fauci et al., fungal infections are classified into categories based on anatomic location and epidemiology. The most frequent anatomic categories are mucocutaneous and deep organ infections. The most common epidemiologic categories are endemic and opportunistic. The endemic mycoses, such as coccidioidomycosis, are infections caused by fungal organisms that are not found in normal human flora and are instead acquired from environmental sources. In contrast, organisms found in normal human microbial flora cause opportunistic infections. Endemic fungal infections are acquired almost exclusively by inhalation of molds in the environment. Soil, dust, and dirt are the natural reservoirs for most of these infections, demonstrated by an increase in cases following dust storms, seismic events, archeological digging, or recreational activities (Fauci et al., 2008). The incidence of endemic fungal infections has risen substantially over the past several decades, especially in geographic locations in which there has been substantial population growth (Fauci et al., 2008). Healthcare providers may be required to recognize and treat an increasing number of severe coccidioidal infections as growth and urbanization to these areas increases. Additionally, a recent study of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in Arizona suggested coccidioidomycosis might be a common cause. Patients with CAP and endemic exposure should receive laboratory evaluation for coccidioidal infection. Because of its subtle onset and increased incidence, coccidioidomycosis infection is a serious health concern for residents of the Southwest, including the suburban areas of Phoenix. This paper will summarize the incidence and prevalence of coccidioidomycosis in Maricopa...