Notes from the Field: Increase in Coccidioidomycosis — California, 2016
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Notes from the Field: Increase in Coccidioidomycosis — California, 2016

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  • Alternative Title:
    MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
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    Coccidioidomycosis, or Valley Fever, is an infectious disease caused by inhalation of Coccidioides spp. spores (1). This soil-dwelling fungus is endemic in the southwestern United States, with most (97%) U.S. cases reported from Arizona and California (1,2). Following an incubation period of 1-3 weeks, symptomatic patients most often experience self-limited, influenza-like symptoms, but coccidioidomycosis also can lead to severe pulmonary disease and to rare cases of disseminated disease, including meningitis (1). Those at increased risk for severe disease include persons of African or Filipino descent, pregnant women, adults in older age groups, and persons with weakened immune systems (1). In 2016, a large increase in coccidioidomycosis incidence was observed in California compared with previous years (3). Using data reported by health care providers and laboratories via local health departments to the California Department of Public Health as of May 9, 2017, incidence rates were calculated by estimated year of illness onset as the number of confirmed coccidioidomycosis cases per 100,000 population (3). Estimated year of illness onset was extracted from the closest date to the time when symptoms first appeared for each patient. From 1995, when coccidioidomycosis became an individually reportable disease in California, to 2009, annual incidence rates ranged from 1.9 to 8.4 per 100,000, followed by a substantial increase to 11.9 per 100,000 in 2010 and a peak of 13.8 per 100,000 in 2011 (Figure). Annual rates decreased during 2012-2014, but increased in 2016 to 13.7 per 100,000, with 5,372 reported cases, the highest annual number of cases in California recorded to date.
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