Environmental variability and coccidioidomycosis (valley fever)

Korine N. Kolivras, Peter S. Johnson, Andrew C. Comrie, Stephen R. Yool

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Coccidioidomycosis (valley fever) is a disease endemic to arid regions in the western hemisphere, and is caused by the soil-dwelling fungus Coccidioides immitis (C. immitis). In this paper, we provide an overview of the current state of knowledge regarding valley fever and C. immitis as related to climatic conditions and habitat requirements. Previous research shows there is a relationship between temperature and precipitation, and outbreaks of coccidioidomycosis. Incidence of the disease varies seasonally as well as annually due to changing climatic conditions. However, the specific environmental conditions that may produce an outbreak of coccidioidomycosis are not well understood in space and time. Previous studies have attempted characterize C. immitis' habitat. Temperature, moisture, salinity, and pH of the soil have all been considered separately in the geographic distribution of the fungus. Medical and proactive intervention are served best, however, by an integrative strategy that folds climate and surface variables into spatially-explicit models. We conclude with recommendations for future research directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-42
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Climate and health
  • Coccidioides immitis
  • Coccidioidomycosis
  • Disease mapping
  • Environmental modeling
  • Infectious disease
  • Southwest United States
  • Spatial variability
  • Temporal variability
  • Valley fever

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Plant Science


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