Susceptibility to Coccidioides spp. varies widely in humans and other mammals and also among individuals within a species. Among strains of mice with various susceptibilities, immunohistopathology revealed that C57BL/6 mice were highly susceptible to the disease following intranasal infection, DBA/2n mice were intermediate, and Swiss-Webster mice were innately resistant. Resistant Swiss-Webster mice developed prominent perivascular/peribronchiolar lymphocytic cuffing and well-formed granulomas with few fungal elements and debris in the necrotic center, surrounded by a mantle of macrophages, lymphocytes, and fibrocytes. Susceptible C57BL/6 mice became moribund between 14 and 18 days postinfection, with overwhelming numbers of neutrophils and spherules and very few T cells, the drastic reduction of which was associated with failure and death, while intermediate DBA/2n mice controlled the fungal burden but demonstrated progressive lung inflammation with prominent suppuration, and they deteriorated clinically. Vaccinated C57BL/6 mice had an early and robust lymphocyte response, which included significantly higher Mac2(+), CD3(+), and CD4(+) cell scores on day 18 than those of innately resistant SW mice and DBA/2n mice; they also had prominent perivascular/peribronchiolar lymphocytic infiltrates not present in their unvaccinated counterparts, and they appeared to be resolving lesions by day 56 compared to the other two strains, based on significantly lower disease scores and observably smaller and fewer lesions with few spherules and neutrophils.
The early manifestations of coccidioidomycosis (valley fever) are similar to those of other causes of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Without specific etiologic testing, the true frequency of valley fever may be underestimated by public health statistics. Therefore, we conducted a prospective observational study of adults with recent onset of a lower respiratory tract syndrome. Valley fever was serologically confirmed in 16 (29%) of 55 persons (95% confidence interval 16%-44%). Antimicrobial medications were used in 81% of persons with valley fever. Symptomatic differences at the time of enrollment had insufficient predictive value for valley fever to guide clinicians without specific laboratory tests. Thus, valley fever is a common cause of CAP after exposure in a disease-endemic region. If CAP develops in persons who travel or reside in Coccidioides-endemic regions, diagnostic evaluation should routinely include laboratory evaluation for this organism.
Coccidioidomycosis, or valley fever, is a growing health concern endemic to the southwestern United States. Safer, more effective, and more easily administered drugs are needed especially for severe, chronic, or unresponsive infections. The novel fungal CYP51 inhibitor VT-1161 demonstrated in vitro antifungal activity, with MIC50 and MIC90 values of 1 and 2 μg/ml, respectively, against 52 Coccidioides clinical isolates. In the initial animal study, oral doses of 10 and 50 mg/kg VT-1161 significantly reduced fungal burdens and increased survival time in a lethal respiratory model in comparison with treatment with a placebo (P