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Samuel Arda (SURF STEM)

Identifying the Manifestation of Lung Conditions & Trends in Valley Fever

Samuel P. Arda, Anh L. Diep, and Katrina K. Hoyer

Within the San Joaquin Valley, common lung conditions such as; asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and bronchitis affect the local population. However, Valley fever, or coccidioidomycosis, is specifically endemic to the Central Valley, with the majority of reports coming from California and Arizona. This infection is caused by an intake of Coccidioides infectious subunits causing pneumatic symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, and chronic cough, often identical to other symptomatic lung conditions. Immune effector cells within both the innate and adaptive system are responsible for clearing the infection, but their detailed mechanisms are yet to be clearly defined. Although most cases of coccidioidomycosis infection are cleared without medical intervention, chronic disease development can occur, and the cause is still unknown. Valley Fever is often misdiagnosed as other lung diseases, and the frequency of Valley Fever occurring in patients with pre-existing conditions is poorly understood. Examining similarities between various lung condition profiles within Valley Fever and other known diseases such as asthma, smoker’s lung, allergic lung reactions, and air pollution, would yield meaningful understanding of their profile overlap and distinctions. This could identify unique markers in symptoms, immune characteristics, diagnostic testing, and demographics to improve proper diagnosis, treatment, and patient outcomes.

 

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