, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 840–852 | Cite as

Investigating the Relationship Between Climate and Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis)

  • Elizabeth A. WeaverEmail author
  • Korine N. Kolivras
Original Contribution


Valley fever (coccidioidomycosis) is a disease caused by inhalation of spores from the soil-dwelling Coccidioides fungal species. The disease is endemic to semiarid areas in the western USA and parts of Central and South America. The region of interest for this study, Kern County, California, accounts for approximately 14% of the reported valley fever cases in the USA each year. It is hypothesized that the weather conditions that foster the growth and dispersal of the fungus influence the number of cases in the endemic area. This study uses regression-based analysis to model and assess the seasonal relationships between valley fever incidence and climatic variables including concurrent and lagged precipitation, temperature, Palmer Drought Severity Index, wind speed, and PM10 using data from 2000 to 2015. We find statistically significant links between disease incidence and climate conditions in Kern County, California. The best performing seasonal model explains up to 76% of the variability in fall valley fever incidence based on concurrent and antecedent climate conditions. Findings are consistent with previous studies, suggesting that antecedent precipitation is an important predictor of disease. The significant relationships found support the “grow and blow” hypothesis for climate-related coccidioidomycosis incidence risk that was originally developed for Arizona.


Coccidioidomycosis Valley fever Climate and health California Modeling Coccidioides immitis 



We thank the Statistical Collaboration Laboratory of Virginia Tech with their assistance with this project.


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Copyright information

© EcoHealth Alliance 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA

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