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Coccidioidomycosis outbreak. (Clinical Capsules).

In areas where Coccidioides immitis is endemic, coccidioidomycosis remains a threat to those whose occupations involve disturbing the soil, said Dr. Nancy Crum and her colleagues at the Naval Medical Center, San Diego.

This conclusion followed an investigation into an outbreak of the disease among at least 10 of 23 Navy SEALs who participated in training exercises in the southwestern United States, where the causative agent is commonly found in the soil.

Ten of the men (45%) had serologic evidence of acute coccidioidomycosis and symptoms including fever, night sweats, chills, cough, myalgias, and weight loss. This is the highest incidence ever reported for a military unit, and the investigators noted that at least six other members of the unit reported suspicious symptoms; serologic testing in those men may have produced false-negative results (J. Infect. Dis. 186[6]:865-68, 2002).

The outbreak suggests that coccidioidomycosis should be considered in those who have recently worked or visited the southwestern United States, and that those working in endemic areas should consider taking precautions against the airborne agent--such as wearing face masks, wetting soil before digging, and avoiding working during windy conditions. Because taking such precautions is not always possible, vaccine development is of great importance for reducing infection rates, they concluded.
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Author:Worcester, Sharon
Publication:Internal Medicine News
Date:Nov 1, 2002
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