Coccidioidomycosis and COVID-19 Co-Infection, United States, 2020

Abstract

We review the interaction between coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and coccidioidomycosis, a respiratory infection caused by inhalation of Coccidioides fungal spores in dust. We examine risk for co-infection among construction and agricultural workers, incarcerated persons, Black and Latino populations, and persons living in high dust areas. We further identify common risk factors for co-infection, including older age, diabetes, immunosuppression, racial or ethnic minority status, and smoking. Because these diseases cause similar symptoms, the COVID-19 pandemic might exacerbate delays in coccidioidomycosis diagnosis, potentially interfering with prompt administration of antifungal therapies. Finally, we examine the clinical implications of co-infection, including severe COVID-19 and reactivation of latent coccidioidomycosis. Physicians should consider coccidioidomycosis as a possible diagnosis when treating patients with respiratory symptoms. Preventive measures such as wearing face masks might mitigate exposure to dust and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, thereby protecting against both infections.

Publication
Emerging Infectious Diseases
Kelly Broen
Kelly Broen
Doctoral Student
Jon Zelner
Jon Zelner
Assistant Professor

My research interests include distributed robotics, mobile computing and programmable matter.