Relating coccidioidomycosis (valley fever) incidence to soil moisture conditions

E. J. Coopersmith, J. E. Bell, K. Benedict, J. Shriber, O. McCotter, M. H. Cosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Coccidioidomycosis (also called Valley fever) is caused by a soilborne fungus, Coccidioides spp., in arid regions of the southwestern United States. Though some who develop infections from this fungus remain asymptomatic, others develop respiratory disease as a consequence. Less commonly, severe illness and death can occur when the infection spreads to other regions of the body. Previous analyses have attempted to connect the incidence of coccidioidomycosis to broadly available climatic measurements, such as precipitation or temperature. However, with the limited availability of long-term, in situ soil moisture data sets, it has not been feasible to perform a direct analysis of the relationships between soil moisture levels and coccidioidomycosis incidence on a larger temporal and spatial scale. Utilizing in situ soil moisture gauges throughout the southwest from the U.S. Climate Reference Network and a model with which to extend those estimates, this work connects periods of higher and lower soil moisture in Arizona and California between 2002 and 2014 to the reported incidence of coccidioidomycosis. The results indicate that in both states, coccidioidomycosis incidence is related to soil moisture levels from previous summers and falls. Stated differently, a higher number of coccidioidomycosis cases are likely to be reported if previous bands of months have been atypically wet or dry, depending on the location.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-63
Number of pages13
JournalGeoHealth
Volume1
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

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Keywords

  • coccidioidomycosis
  • machine learning
  • modeling
  • soil moisture
  • valley fever

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Epidemiology
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Cite this

Coopersmith, E. J., Bell, J. E., Benedict, K., Shriber, J., McCotter, O., & Cosh, M. H. (2017). Relating coccidioidomycosis (valley fever) incidence to soil moisture conditions. GeoHealth, 1(1), 51-63. https://doi.org/10.1002/2016GH000033