Local Nurse’s Study of #3 Disease in SLO County  

TEMPLETON, CA (August 3, 2012) – Twin Cities Community Hospital nurse Jeannette Tosh, RN, CIC, won the honor of presenting her study, “The Incidence of Coccidioidomycosis in San Luis Obispo, California,” at the recent conference for APIC, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

Tosh, Infection Preventionist at Twin Cities Community Hospital since 2003 and a Board Certified Infection Control and Epidemiology specialist, reported that the fungal, flu-like disease Coccidioidomycosis (commonly known as “Valley Fever” or “Cocci”) is the third most commonly reported disease in the county.

“Increased awareness is needed about the prevalence of Coccidioidomycosis among clinicians and providers, especially when patients have visited endemic areas and contracted illness,” said Tosh, who assembled and submitted the poster that was chosen to be part of the APIC Annual Educational Conference and International Meeting’s Poster Presentation in San Antonio, Texas  to educate professionals about top epidemiologically significant studies.

Her report stemmed from years of state law-required documentation of the disease along with maps and demographic information of the cases. Tosh says the majority of Cocci cases in San Luis Obispo County are identified and reside in the North County, with many of those being treated at Twin Cities Community Hospital each year.

“I find this topic interesting and pertinent since it affects the lives of the residents here in the North County,” said Tosh who works closely with San Luis Obispo Public Health Department (SLOPHD) to ensure cases are tracked and reported.

While it can be serious or fatal, symptomatic Coccidioidomycosis infection (40 percent of cases) resembles an influenza-like illness with fever, cough, headaches, rash, and muscle pain. Testing can be confirmed by serum blood analysis: A Cocci titer will test for antibody (past infection) and Precipitin (acute infection). Cocci fungus can also be grown from infected cultures. It is primarily treated with antifungal agents.

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