More than half of those who inhale coccidioides fungi have few, if any, problems. But some, especially pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems — such as those living with HIV/AIDS — and those of Filipino, Hispanic, African, Native American or Asian descent are at risk of developing a more severe form of coccidioidomycosis.

Complications of coccidioidomycosis may include:

  • Severe pneumonia. Most people recover from coccidioidomycosis-related pneumonia without complications. Others, mainly Filipinos, Hispanics, blacks, Native Americans, Asians and those with weakened immune systems, may become seriously ill.
  • Ruptured lung nodules. A small percentage of people develop thin-walled nodules (cavities) in their lungs. Many of these eventually disappear without causing any problems, but some may rupture, causing chest pain and difficulty breathing. A ruptured lung nodule might require the placement of a tube into the space around the lungs to remove the air, or surgery to repair the damage.
  • Disseminated disease. This is the most serious complication of coccidioidomycosis. If the fungus spreads (disseminates) throughout the body, it can cause problems ranging from skin ulcers and abscesses to bone lesions, severe joint pain, heart inflammation, urinary tract problems and meningitis — a potentially fatal infection of the membranes and fluid covering the brain and spinal cord.
Jul. 06, 2012

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