A 60-year-old Carlsbad man has died from “sepsis due to Coccidioides immitis pneumonia”, a rare thing in the  state of New Mexico, according to a Current-Argus News report Thursday.

Coccidioides immitis arthroconidia Image/CDC
Coccidioides immitis arthroconidia

The deceased, identified as Paul Jeffery Moore by the report, is the fourth case of coccidioidomycosis, or Valley fever, in the state and the first fatality. In fact, the news source reports there have been 336 cases of valley fever in New Mexico reported since 2006, with no deaths.

Valley fever is much more common in neighboring Arizona, which recorded 12,000 cases in 2012, and areas of California. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.

Valley fever, aka “San Joaquin Valley fever” or “desert rheumatism”, is caused by the fungus Coccidioides immitis. The fungus is known to live in the soil in the southwestern United States and parts of Mexico and Central and South America. The fungus was also recently found in south-central Washington. People can get valley fever by breathing in the microscopic fungal spores from the air in these areas.

LISTEN: Talking Valley fever with Dr. John Galgiani