Symptoms of Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis)
Most people (60%) who are exposed to the fungus Coccidioides never have symptoms.1 Other people may have flu-like symptoms that go usually away on their own after weeks to months. If your symptoms last for more than a week, contact your healthcare provider.
Symptoms of valley fever include:
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Shortness of breath
- Night sweats
- Muscle aches or joint pain
- Rash on upper body or legs
In extremely rare cases, the fungal spores can enter the skin through a cut, wound, or splinter and cause a skin infection.2
How soon do the symptoms appear?
Symptoms of valley fever may appear between 1 and 3 weeks after a person breathes in the fungal spores.
How long do the symptoms last?
The symptoms of valley fever usually last for a few weeks to a few months.3, 4 However, some patients have symptoms that last longer than this, especially if the infection becomes severe.
Severe valley fever
Approximately 5 to 10% of people who get valley fever will develop serious or long-term problems in their lungs.4 In an even smaller percent of people (about 1%), the infection spreads from the lungs to other parts of the body, such as the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), skin, or bones and joints.4-6
- Smith CE, Whiting EG, et al. The use of coccidioidin. American review of tuberculosis 1948;57:330-60.
- Chang A, Tung RC, McGillis TS, Bergfeld WF, Taylor JS. Primary cutaneous coccidioidomycosis. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2003 Nov;49(5):944-9.
- Tsang CA, Anderson SM, Imholte SB, et al. Enhanced surveillance of coccidioidomycosis, Arizona, USA, 2007-2008. Emerg Infect Dis 2010;16:1738-44.
- Thompson GR, 3rd. Pulmonary coccidioidomycosis. Seminars in respiratory and critical care medicine 2011;32:754-63.
- Crum NF, Lederman ER, Stafford CM, Parrish JS, Wallace MR. Coccidioidomycosis: a descriptive survey of a reemerging disease. Clinical characteristics and current controversies. Medicine 2004;83:149-75.
- Galgiani JN, Ampel NM, Blair JE, et al. Coccidioidomycosis. Clin Infect Dis 2005;41:1217-23.