On July 5, 2011, a massive wall of dust blanketed Phoenix, creating an awesome spectacle – or stubborn nuisance, depending on your perspective. Dust storms are a common occurrence in the arid desert environments of the American Southwest.
But windborne dust can be a serious health risk, lofting spores of a sometimes-lethal fungus known as Coccidioides. The resulting ailment, known as coccidioidomycosis, or valley fever, has been perplexing researchers since it was first described in 1892. It is currently on an alarming ascent in the United States.
Stephen Albert Johnston, Krupa Navalkar and their colleagues at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute have been investigating valley fever. Navalkar is the lead author of a new study describing a promising strategy known as immunosignaturing, which can provide clinicians with an accurate identification of valley fever, a potentially serious affliction that is often misdiagnosed.
Read more in Arizona State University News.
Photo courtesy of The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University.