Valley fever is a fungal infection caused by coccidioides (kok-sid-e-OY-deze) organisms. It can cause fever, chest pain and coughing, among other signs and symptoms.

Two species of coccidioides fungi cause valley fever. These fungi are commonly found in soil in specific regions. The fungi's spores can be stirred into the air by anything that disrupts the soil, such as farming, construction and wind.

The fungi can then be breathed into the lungs and cause valley fever, also known as acute coccidioidomycosis (kok-sid-e-oy-doh-my-KOH-sis). Mild cases of valley fever usually resolve on their own. In more severe cases, doctors prescribe antifungal medications that can treat the underlying infection.

May 27, 2015