How is valley fever spread?

Did you know that fungus can make you sick? Yes, it’s true! One fungal disease that has been causing scary headlines recently is valley fever. But how exactly do people become infected with this spore-borne illness? In this article, we’ll explore the various ways Coccidioides immitis spreads through the air and into human lungs – and what you can do to avoid it.

Meet the Culprit: Coccidioides Immitis

First things first: let’s get acquainted with our villain. Coccidioides immitis (or more recently renamed as Coccidioide Mycosis) is a type of dimorphic fungus found in dry desert regions like parts of California, Arizona or even as far south as Central America.

This sneaky pathogen loves sand and dust; in fact, its spores are often found in soil mixed by gardening tools, cattle hooves or even construction vehicles’ tires. And when these particles are stirred up by wind or human activity…look out!

If you’re breathing outdoors while near an area where coccidioidomycosis grows naturally (which – newsflash – is pretty much everywhere) be warned! The fungi might just hitch a ride on your respiratory system for some spooky Kool-Aid man action straight into your body. Specifically speaking:

  1. Through inhalation
  2. By touching something contaminated with cocci spores such as clothes hats etcetera.
  3. From Mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy or breastfeeding but since it kindda rare, i doubt anyone would listen.


The most common way people contract valley fever is accidentally breathing in airborne Cocci scattered by windstorms or disruptive activities which interrupt to loose soil particles; The tiny microbe infiltrates the respiratory tract, and once it invades a host’s lungs, that’s when things tend to get spooky.

Fomite transmission

But what about getting cocci through physical contact? It turns out very little ! Foxes would be their best friends in this case; infection through touching contaminated clothing or even hats. A study shows when C. immitis cultures were sprayed on various surfaces finding no active fungi was detected after 24 with generally poor survival rates so you’re more likely to see some brown dust remnants than microscopic eukaryotic spores!

Cryptic Inoculation

A rare way of getting Coccidioidomycosis is by penetrating wounds like pin pricks for farmers wearing shorts in coccidioidal areas. Doctors called it primary cutaneous cocci but, if your skin has managed to extract Cocci while walking barefoot through desert sands, I advise you go on and buy yourself a lottery ticket too as the odds are much better there.

Unfortunately, valley fever can affect anyone- however some people are at higher risk just like how some people are more prone towards being funnier.

Geographically-Specific Populations

As mentioned earlier parts of Central America & southwestern United States are endemic regions where Coccidioides grow natively meaning inhabitants have almost certainly been exposed frequently from handling soil or exposure from airborne cocci

If traveling one should take the opportunity to always wear breathable face coverings which most parties do anyways due COVID going around… Maybe bring an umbrella for good measure?

Certain Occupations

Several jobs make workers particularly susceptible also: construction work & farming since they involve using intense labor activities in dusty environments -meaning increased chances of inhaling air-borne spores! #thanksfornothin’oxygen

High-Risk Jobs
Farming & Ranching
Military Training

It’s important if you work in one of these industries, to always wear protective gear while on the job. This will help reduce the chances that cocci spores can infiltrate your respiratory tract.

Demographic Predispositions

Ageism strikes again! Older adults (over 60) and those with weakened immune systems may be more susceptible due to weaker The general conclusion is they have a decreased ability for their immune system to combat any fungal foreign matter trying hijack their body’s sanctuary.

Okay… we know it’s not possible, but there are ways to reduce risk!

  • Avoid outdoor activities as much as you can especially when it’s dusty otherwise just put a mask on.
  • Wear masks
  • Stay clear off heavily trafficked areas no don’t join them
  • Adequate filtration in our homes which tends to harbor fungi within damp spaces where humidity levels exceed no greater than 50 \%(yay basic science saved us today).

We hope this article has been informative and entertaining concerning valley fever! Do what you can do protect yourself, but remember if coughs persist even after six weeks; get yourself checked out by professionals and avoid spooky fungi like Cocci before they spread too much havoc.

Spore-borne illnesses refers diseases transmitted via air containing free-floating bacterial or fungal cells
Coccidioidomycosis is another term associated with Valley fever
Cocci might also refer specifically referring towards cocci-shaped bacteria depending on context