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First Analysis of Human Coccidioides Isolates from New Mexico and the Southwest Four Corners Region: Implications for the Distributions of C. posadasii and C. immitis and Human Groups at Risk

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Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA
2
New Mexico Department of Health, Scientific Laboratory Division, 1101 Camino de Salud NE, Albuquerque, NM 87102, USA
3
New Mexico Department of Health, Epidemiology and Response Division, Santa Fe, NM 87505, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Fungi 2019, 5(3), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof5030074
Received: 9 July 2019 / Revised: 30 July 2019 / Accepted: 8 August 2019 / Published: 10 August 2019
Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever) is a disease caused by species of Coccidioides. The disease is endemic to arid regions of the Southwestern US and while most common in CA and AZ is also present in NM. We present the first genetic analysis of clinical isolates from NM. Travel and demographic information was available for a number of patients, which included individuals from NM and the Southwestern US Four Corners region. Multi-gene phylogenetic analyses revealed the presence of both C. posadasii and C. immitis. While NM is predicted to be within the endemic range for C. posadasii, our results expand the known range of C. immitis, often considered to be the “California species”. Five of eight infections for which patient ethnicity existed occurred in Native Americans, and two occurred in African Americans. Several isolates came from the northwestern part of NM—outside the predicted “highly-endemic” region. Our study suggests Native Americans represent an unrecognized at-risk group, and it provides a foundation for better defining the geographic distribution of the Coccidioides species and for preventing exposure among populations at risk. In the course of this study, we developed a reliable PCR-based method to distinguish species targeting regions of the mitochondrial genome. View Full-Text
Keywords: Coccidioides; coccidioidomycosis; New Mexico; American Indian; Valley Fever Coccidioides; coccidioidomycosis; New Mexico; American Indian; Valley Fever
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Hamm, P.S.; Hutchison, M.I.; Leonard, P.; Melman, S.; Natvig, D.O. First Analysis of Human Coccidioides Isolates from New Mexico and the Southwest Four Corners Region: Implications for the Distributions of C. posadasii and C. immitis and Human Groups at Risk. J. Fungi 2019, 5, 74.

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