Posts Tagged Ike Davis

Valley Fever: Like, So Totally Serious, Dude.

Geographic distribution of Coccidioidomycosis....

Image via Wikipedia

Ike Davis may or may not have Valley Fever.  But for those of us not part of Valley culture, Valley Fever sounds like something one would get from drinking someone else’s wine cooler.  Maybe Ike borrowed someone else’s unwashed leg warmers for aerobics.  (Are those back yet?  When will retro cool encompass leg warmers?  About the same time the giant airplane-wing size collars come back.)

Being a medical type, I was interested in this Valley Fever.  Was this some new disease striking yuppies, making them retro before their time?  Symptoms include the unnecessary use of the word like, addiction to pastels, and a slight fever – dance fever, that is.

Turns out that Valley Fever is a real disease.  The NIH website first lists it as “Valey Fever” in a rare typo.  I had a momentary image of Valet Fever, an infection caught from exclusively luxury model car keys.  Not to be mistaken for Ballet Fever, the urge to leap up and applaud mediocre ballet performances.

So the REAL name of Valley Fever is coccidioidomycosis.  If you went, oh, of course, you definitely spent time in medical school.  Or taking NPLEX exams for fun (sicko!).  Actually, I kind of liked taking practice NPLEX exams.  It’s Trivial Pursuit for the really intense hypochondriac within all of us.

Coccidiodomycosis is a fungal infection.  If you want to hear the way it is pronounced, Webster’s now has a wonderful audio feature.  Hearing it pronounced makes it sound like something so truly filthy that you could get slapped unless the people you are talking to are intense hypochondriacs.  It sounds like something Barney from How I Met Your Mother would be into.  It might be what J. Lo whispered in Barney’s ear before he had to tell her no and then went and jumped into the river.

But regardless of how it sounds, having it is no fun.  Ike made it sound like no big deal, but having a fungal infection in your lungs at his age is a serious no-no.  That’s the kind of thing you get after you get transplants of other organs and your body is shutting down.

So, either the NY specialists are making an error, or Ike doesn’t want to believe them.  It’s true that a huge number of people have antibodies to the fungus, but very few of them get the disease.  The fungus can go system wide and affect any body organ.  Time to really think about prevention if he did have this pneumonia.  If he developed symptoms, it is likely his body isn’t working at full capacity.

Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2011 Dec;32(6):754-63. Epub  2011 Dec 13.

Pulmonary coccidioidomycosis.


Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of California-Davis, Davis, California 95616, USA.


Coccidioidomycosis refers to the spectrum of disease caused by the dimorphic fungi Coccidioides immitis and Coccidioides posadasii. Clinical manifestations vary depending upon both the extent of infection and the immune status of the host. Coccidioidomycosis has been reported to involve almost all organ systems; however, pulmonary disease is the most common clinical manifestation. The incidence of coccidioidomycosis continues to rise, and primary coccidioidal pneumonia accounts for 17 to 29% of all cases of community-acquired pneumonia in endemic regions. The majority of patients with coccidioidomycosis resolve their initial infection without sequelae; however, several patients develop complications of disease ranging in severity from complicated pulmonary coccidioidomycosis to widely disseminated disease with immediately life-threatening manifestations. This review focuses on complications of pulmonary coccidioidomycosis with an emphasis on the management of primary coccidioidal infection, solitary pulmonary nodules, pleural effusions, cavitary disease, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), miliary disease, and sepsis.

© Thieme Medical Publishers.

PMID: 22167403
Pol Arch Med Wewn. 2008 Jun;118(6):387-90.

Coccidioidomycosis in a 38-year-old man: a case report.


Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Medical University, Poznań, Poland.


The present article describes a case of acute pulmonary coccidioidomycosis in a 38-year-old man, a research worker. The disease started during the patient stay in Arizona, USA, and clinical symptoms persisted after his return to Poland. Acute coccidioidomycosis is one the clinical manifestations of Coccidioides immitis strain endemic infections occurring in the south-western regions of USA including California (mainly San Joaquin Valley), Western Texas, New Mexico and the desert areas of Arizona, and Central and South America. The native environment of Coccidioides immitis is soil penetrated by rodents. People, domestic and wild animals suffer from coccidioidomycosis. The infection rate in endemic areas is about 2-4% a year in the healthy population. Coccidioidomycosis can be observed in non-endemic areas due to population mobility and in immunocompromised patients. The Coccidioides immitis infection is caused by inhaled airborne fungal spores and it may occur as primary pulmonary (acute or chronic) asymptomatic form, meningitis, or disseminated disease. The clinical symptoms of coccidioidomycotis like acute pulmonary manifestations may resemble typical, resistant to empiric antibiotic treatment of bacterial pneumonia. In healthy subjects, pulmonary coccidioidomycosis may occur as asymptomatic infection, which resolves spontaneously without medication. Sometimes, slight shadows like local fibrosis and cavities may be visible on the chest X-ray. The Coccidioides immitis infection in people with immunological deficiency syndromes, e.g. HIV/AIDS, manifests itself as disseminated disease and may lead to severe complications including death.




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