Spatiotemporal association between valley fever and PM10: a case study of Arizona



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Valley fever is a respiratory infection caused by inhaling fungal spores called Coccidioides immitis. There is no direct measurement of Coccidioides immitis, but PM10 (airborne dust particles with diameter less than 10 micrometer) has been studied as an indirect measurement of Coccidioides immitis since PM10 particle size includes spore sizes. PM10 is assessed as a possible predictor of valley fever cases to ensure the mitigation of PM10 would decrease exposure to Coccidioides immitis and contraction valley fever cases. The purpose of this study is to examine temporal trend and spatial distribution of valley fever in Arizona from 2005 to 2014 in respect to valley fever records from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) and the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). The results show that PM10 does not serve as a convincing predictor of valley fever. The incubation period between the measurement of PM10 and report of valley fever is evident during the study period. However, comparing PM10 values to the valley fever reports to the corresponding month reveals there is nonlinear relationship between them. Thus, other climatological or impact factors need to be analyzed as possible predictors of valley fever cases.

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Valley fever, Particulate matter