Coccidioidomycosis, also known as Valley fever, is an invasive fungal infection caused by the dimorphic fungi Coccidioides immitis and Coccidioides posadasii. These fungi are endemic to arid or semi-arid regions of the southwestern United Sates, Mexico, and Central and South America. Infection is acquired through inhalation of air-dispersed fungal spores termed arthroconidia. The initial or acute form of coccidioidomycosis is often mild with symptoms such as fever, cough, chest pain, and red, spotty rash. If infection is not controlled, it may progress to chronic pneumonia or even disseminate to other parts of the body including the brain, especially in immunocompromised patients. BEI Resources houses a well-characterized collection of Coccidioides strains from various origins, which have been used in studies of the ecology and distribution of different genotypes of the pathogen. Such studies are important for monitoring outbreaks, determining changes in virulence, and predicting disease progression. These strains were generously contributed by Dr. Bridget Barker, Northern Arizona University.
Image: Colonies of Coccidioides immitis, Strain RMSCC 3476 (NR-48939) growing at 37°C on Emmons' Modification of Sabouraud agar.