Tests and diagnosisBy Mayo Clinic Staff
Valley fever is difficult to diagnose solely on the basis of signs and symptoms, because they're usually vague and overlap with symptoms that occur in other illnesses. Even a chest X-ray can't distinguish valley fever from other lung diseases.
A definitive diagnosis depends on finding evidence of coccidioides organisms in tissue, blood or other body secretions. For that reason, you're likely to have one or more of the following tests:
May 27, 2015
- Sputum smear or culture. These tests check a sample of the matter that's discharged while coughing (sputum) for the presence of coccidioides organisms.
- Blood tests. Through a blood test, your doctor can check for antibodies against the fungus that causes valley fever.
- Ferri FF. Coccidioidomycosis. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2015: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 23, 2015.
- Nimmer N, et al. Coccidioidomycosis. Pediatrics in Review. 2015;36:181.
- Nguyen C, et al. Recent advances in our understanding of the environmental, epidemiological, immunological, and clinical dimensions of coccidioidomycosis. Clinical Microbiology Reviews. 2013;26:505.
- Wilken JA, et al. Coccidioidomycosis Among Cast and Crew Members at an Outdoor Television Filming Event — California, 2012. MMWR. 2014;63:321.
- Galgiani JN, et al. Primary coccidioidal infection. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 23, 2015.
- Longo DL, et al. Coccidioidomycosis. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed April 23, 2015.
- Coccidioidomycosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/coccidioidomycosis/index.html. Accessed April 23, 2015.
- Papadakis MA, et al., eds. Mycotic infections. In: Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2014. 54th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2015. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed April 23, 2015.
- Coccidioidomycosis (Valley fever) — Jobs at risk. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/valleyfever/risk.html. Accessed April 30, 2015.
- Bennett JE, et al. Coccidioidomycosis. In: Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2010. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 23, 2015.