Epidemiology

Coccidioides immitis grows only in semi-arid desert areas of the Western Hemisphere (figure 23.25). In these areas, infections occur only during the hot, dry, dusty seasons when airborne spores are easily dispersed from the soil. Dust stirred up by earthquakes can result in epidemics. Rainfall promotes growth of the fungus, which then produces increased numbers of spores when

592 Chapter 23 Respiratory System Infections

592 Chapter 23 Respiratory System Infections

Figure 23.25 Area of Distribution of Coccidioides Immitis

dry conditions return. People can contract coccidioidomycosis by simply traveling through the endemic area. Infectious spores have unknowingly been transported to other areas, but the organism apparently is unable to establish itself in moist climates.

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