Coccidioidomycosis results from inhaling spores of the fungus Coccidioides spp. in soil or airborne dust in endemic areas. We investigated an outbreak of coccidioidomycosis in a 12-person civilian construction crew that excavated soil during an underground pipe installation on Camp Roberts Military Base, California in October 2007. Ten (83·3%) workers developed symptoms of coccidioidomycosis; eight (66·7%) had serologically confirmed disease, seven had abnormal chest radiographs, and one developed disseminated infection; none used respiratory protection. A diagnosis of coccidioidomycosis in an eleventh worker followed his exposure to the outbreak site in 2008. Although episodic clusters of infections have occurred at Camp Roberts, the general area is not associated with the high disease rates found in California's San Joaquin Valley. Measures to minimize exposure to airborne spores during soil-disrupting activities should be taken before work begins in any coccidioides-endemic area, including regions with only historic evidence of disease activity.
(Accepted September 18 2009)
(Online publication October 22 2009)
c1 Author for correspondence: K. C. Cummings, M.P.H., Research Scientist III, Infectious Diseases Epidemiologist, California Department of Public Health, Infectious Diseases Branch, Division of Communicable Disease Control, Center for Infectious Diseases, 850 Marina Bay Parkway, Building P, Second Floor, Richmond, CA 94804, USA. (Email: [email protected])