Coccidioidomycosis in African Americans

Mayo Clin Proc. 2011 Jan;86(1):63-9. doi: 10.4065/mcp.2010.0423.


Coccidioidomycosis is caused by Coccidioides species, a fungus endemic to the desert regions of the southwestern United States, and is of particular concern for African Americans. We performed a PubMed search of the English-language medical literature on coccidioidomycosis in African Americans and summarized the pertinent literature. Search terms were coccidioidomycosis, Coccidioides, race, ethnicity, African, black, and Negro. The proceedings of the national and international coccidioidomycosis symposia were searched. All relevant articles and their cited references were reviewed; those with epidemiological, immunologic, clinical, and therapeutic data pertaining to coccidioidomycosis in African Americans were included in the review. Numerous studies documented an increased predilection for severe coccidioidal infections, coccidioidomycosis-related hospitalizations, and extrapulmonary dissemination in persons of African descent; however, most of the published studies are variably problematic. The immunologic mechanism for this predilection is unclear. The clinical features and treatment recommendations are summarized. Medical practitioners need to be alert to the possibility of coccidioidomycosis in persons with recent travel to or residence in an area where the disease is endemic.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • African Americans*
  • Coccidioidomycosis / epidemiology
  • Coccidioidomycosis / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Travel
  • United States / epidemiology