IMPORTANT NOTICE: At Fortis Healthcare, we are fully supportive of the National priorities set out by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India. Further to the directives of the Government provided in their press release dated 8th Nov 2016, payments at Government hospitals can be made through 500 and 1000 Rupee denomination notes. In view of the hardship being caused to the large number of patients at private hospitals, we have made an urgent representation to the Government that this exemption should apply equally, for payments, at private hospitals. We are following up with the authorities and hope the Government will step in quickly to resolve this anomaly. Meanwhile, at Fortis hospitals across the country, we continue to accept payments through credit card, debit card and electronic banking transfers. As 500 and 1000 Rupee denomination notes are no longer legal tender we are only accepting 100 Rs and lower currency notes. As per Government regulation, a PAN card and legitimate ID proof is however required for payments in cash exceeding Rs 50,000. Meanwhile we continue to ensure that emergency cases get immediate medical attention without delay whatsoever and have put in more administrative staff and help desks to assist patients.

Valley fever

Valley fever is a fungal infection caused by coccidioides (kok-sid-e-OY-deze) organisms. It can cause fever, chest pain and coughing, among other signs and symptoms.

Two species of coccidioides fungi cause valley fever. These fungi are commonly found in the soil in specific areas and can be stirred into the air by anything that disrupts the soil, such as farming, construction and wind. The fungi can then be breathed into the lungs and cause valley fever, also known as acute coccidioidomycosis (kok-sid-e-oy-doh-my-KOH-sis).

Mild cases of valley fever usually resolve on their own. In more severe cases, doctors prescribe antifungal medications that can treat the underlying infection.


Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

Valley fever is the initial form of coccidioidomycosis infection. This initial, acute illness can develop into more serious disease, including chronic and disseminated coccidioidomycosis.

Acute coccidioidomycosis (valley fever)

The initial, or acute, form of coccidioidomycosis is often mild, with few, if any, symptoms. When signs and symptoms do occur, they appear one to three weeks after exposure. They tend to resemble those of the flu, and can range from minor to severe:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Chest pain — varying from a mild feeling of constriction to intense pressure resembling a heart attack
  • Chills
  • Night sweats
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Joint aches
  • Red, spotty rash

The rash that sometimes accompanies valley fever is made up of painful red bumps that may later turn brown. The rash mainly appears on your lower legs, but sometimes on your chest, arms and back. Others may have a raised red rash with blisters or eruptions that look like pimples.

If you don't become ill from valley fever, you may learn that you've been infected only when you later have a positive skin or blood test or when small areas of residual infection (nodules) in the lungs show up on a routine chest X-ray. Although the nodules typically don't cause problems, they can look like cancer on X-ray.

If you do develop symptoms, especially severe ones, the course of the disease is highly variable. It can take months to fully recover, and fatigue and joint aches can last even longer. The severity of the disease depends on several factors, including your overall health and the number of fungus spores you inhale.

Chronic coccidioidomycosis

If the initial coccidioidomycosis infection doesn't completely resolve, it may progress to a chronic form of pneumonia. This complication is most common in people with weakened immune systems. You're likely to have periods of worsening symptoms alternating with periods of recovery. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Low-grade fever
  • Weight loss
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Blood-tinged sputum (matter discharged during coughing)
  • Nodules in the lungs

Disseminated coccidioidomycosis

The most serious form of the disease, disseminated coccidioidomycosis, occurs when the infection spreads (disseminates) beyond the lungs to other parts of the body. Most often these parts include the skin, bones, liver, brain, heart, and the membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord (meninges).

The signs and symptoms of disseminated disease depend on which parts of your body are affected and may include:

  • Nodules, ulcers and skin lesions that are more serious than the rash that sometimes occurs with other forms of the disease
  • Painful lesions in the skull, spine or other bones
  • Painful, swollen joints, especially in the knees or ankles
  • Meningitis — an infection of the membranes and fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord and the most deadly complication of valley fever

When to see a doctor

Valley fever, even when it's symptomatic, often clears on its own. Yet for older adults and others at high risk, recovery can be slow, and the risk of developing severe disease is high.

Seek medical care if you are in a high-risk group and develop the signs and symptoms of valley fever, especially if you:

  • Live in or have recently traveled to an area where this disease is common
  • Have symptoms that aren't improving

Be sure to tell your doctor if you've traveled to a place where valley fever is endemic and you have symptoms. More and more, people who spend a few days golfing or hiking in Arizona return home with valley fever but are never tested for the disease.


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