Outbreak of Coccidioidomycosis in Washington State Residents Returning from Mexico


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Abstract

In July 1996 the Washington State Department of Health (Seattle) was notified of a cluster of a flulike, rash-associated illness in a 126-member church group, many of whom were adolescents. The group had recently returned from Tecate, Mexico, where members had assisted with construction projects at an orphanage. After 1 member was diagnosed with coccidioidomycosis, we initiated a study to identify further cases. We identified 21 serologically confirmed cases of coccidioidomycosis (minimum attack rate, 17%). Twenty cases (95%) occurred in adolescents, and 13 patients (62%) had rash. Sixteen symptomatic patients saw 19 health care providers; 1 health care provider correctly diagnosed coccidioidomycosis.Coccidioides immitiswas isolated from soil samples from Tecate by use of the intraperitoneal mouse inoculation method. Trip organizers were unaware of the potential forC. immitisinfection. Travelers visiting regions whereC. immitisis endemic should be made aware of the risk of acquiring coccidioidomycosis, and health care providers should be familiar with coccidioidomycosis and its diagnosis.

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