Coccidioidomycosis is a fungal infection endemic to the southwestern United States, particularly Arizona and California. Its incidence has increased, potentially due in part to the effects of changing climatic variables on fungal growth and spore dissemination. This study aims to quantify the county-level vulnerability to coccidioidomycosis in Arizona and California and to assess the relationships between population vulnerability and climate variability. The variables representing exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity were combined to calculate county level vulnerability indices. Three methods were used: (1) principal components analysis; (2) quartile weighting; and (3) percentile weighting. Two sets of indices, “unsupervised” and “supervised”, were created. Each index was correlated with coccidioidomycosis incidence data from 2000–2014. The supervised percentile index had the highest correlation; it was then correlated with variability measures for temperature, precipitation, and drought. The supervised percentile index was significantly correlated (p
< 0.05) with coccidioidomycosis incidence in both states. Moderate, positive significant associations (p
< 0.05) were found between index scores and climate variability when both states were concurrently analyzed and when California was analyzed separately. This research adds to the body of knowledge that could be used to target interventions to vulnerable counties and provides support for the hypothesis that population vulnerability to coccidioidomycosis is associated with climate variability.
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