Understanding the exposure risk of aerosolized Coccidioides in a Valley fever endemic metropolis

W. Tanner Porter, Lalitha Gade, Parker Montfort, Joseph R. Mihaljevic, Jolene R. Bowers, Andrew Willman, Brian A. Klimowski, Bonnie J. LaFleur, Rebecca H. Sunenshine, Jennifer Collins, Guillermo Adame, Shane Brady, Kenneth K. Komatsu, Samantha Williams, Mitsuru Toda, Tom Chiller, Anastasia P. Litvintseva, David M. Engelthaler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coccidioides is the fungal causative agent of Valley fever, a primarily pulmonary disease caused by inhalation of fungal arthroconidia, or spores. Although Coccidioides has been an established pathogen for 120 years and is responsible for hundreds of thousands of infections per year, little is known about when and where infectious Coccidioides arthroconidia are present within the ambient air in endemic regions. Long-term air sampling programs provide a means to investigate these characteristics across space and time. Here we present data from > 18 months of collections from 11 air sampling sites across the Phoenix, Arizona, metropolitan area. Overall, prevalence was highly variable across space and time with no obvious spatial or temporal correlations. Several high prevalence periods were identified at select sites, with no obvious spatial or temporal associations. Comparing these data with weather and environmental factor data, wind gusts and temperature were positively associated with Coccidioides detection, while soil moisture was negatively associated with Coccidioides detection. These results provide critical insights into the frequency and distribution of airborne arthroconidia and the associated risk of inhalation and potential disease that is present across space and time in a highly endemic locale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1311
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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