Coccidioidomycosis or "cocci" (Valley fever) is an illness caused by a fungus found in the soil and dirt of some areas of the southwestern United States, and parts of Mexico and Central and South America. In California, the fungus is found in many areas of the San Joaquin Valley (Central Valley).
Anyone who lives in, works in, or visits a place with Valley fever can be infected. It usually infects the lungs and can cause flu-like symptoms or pneumonia. In most people the infection will go away on its own but all persons with symptoms should see a healthcare provider. Although it can be difficult to prevent Valley fever, the best way to reduce your risk is to avoid breathing in dirt or dust in areas where Valley fever is common.