Why Is Valley Fever Sometimes Misdiagnosed?

Misdiagnosis can happen sometimes. A condition will present itself with similar symptoms to another condition. So, why is Valley Fever sometimes misdiagnosed?

Valley Fever Overview and Misdiagnosis

Valley fever is an infection caused by a fungus known to live in the soil around the southwestern United States, and parts of Mexico, Central, and South America. You can get an infection from the fungus, Coccidioides, by breathing in spores. However, most people who do don’t get sick.

And, if by change you do end up ill it will resolve itself in a few months at the most. Unfortunately, if you end up seeing a doctor because of illness symptoms from Valley Fever, it sometimes looks like pneumonia. And, a doctor will treat it as a case of bacterial pneumonia.

Consequently, the antibacterial regime the doctor prescribes will not affect Valley Fever. And, your illness will remain untreated. This is solvable by ordering simple blood tests.

Often the doctor doesn’t order the tests. As many as 90% of doctors don’t take the extra step to be sure of their diagnosis. This leads to the high number of misdiagnosed Valley Fever cases.

Furthermore, misdiagnosis has become a serious problem with serious health repercussions for the sick patient. And, it’s, unfortunately, more common than anyone would like to imagine. One study revealed that of 583 diagnostic mistakes made by doctors, 28% of them were life-threatening. Additionally, those mistaken diagnoses caused death or permanent disability.

Finally, while Valley Fever is rarely serious enough to warrant death, much less a hospital visit, you should exercise caution while you are in affected areas. And, if you do start to exhibit symptoms that sound like Valley Fever, insist on blood tests to confirm it prior to treatment. If that’s an option.

Final Thoughts

Why is Valley Fever sometimes misdiagnosed? The problem doesn’t necessarily lay at the feet of the infection. It is easy to detect with a blood test. The real problem is in doctor’s who, for whatever reason, don’t order the necessary tests to confirm their diagnosis.

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