Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2015 Cocci Study Group - San Diego CA

Last weekend I and my aunt the nurse attended the annual Cocci Study Group, held this time at UC San Diego. Here are some of the more interesting tidbits I took away:
  • There was no presentation about the status of prospective Valley Fever cure Nikkomycin Z. I assume development is still mired by lack of funding.
  • Cocci appears to worsen the course in patients with preexisting asthma. Dr. Royce Johnson stated that he thinks cocci can cause asthma. He also thinks we all have asthma, but some get to the point of wheezing before others.
  • A soil biologist at Long Beach State said that cocci doesn't grow in watered, fertilized, churned soil, so perhaps farm workers aren't at higher risk after all. But Washington state vineyards are opening up and increasing cocci cases are being reported.
  • A Seabee operating a Caterpillar tractor on Kodiak Island in Alaska got cocci. The tractor came from Lemoore Naval Air Station in Lemorre, CA (a cocci-endemic region).
  • Erin Gaab  from UC Merced gave a moving presentation about the emotional & psychological impact of cocci on patients, families, caregivers, and children. We give lots of support to children with cancer, not children with cocci.
  • Dr. Royce Johnson commented that normal people don't have symptoms when they inhale arthrochonidia. People have cocci because they have subtle genetic predisposition. Cocci is a genetic condition with fungal implications (someone once said TB is a social condition with medical implications).
  • Per study by Dr. Janis Blair and another by Dr. Royce Johnson: Diabetics didn't get cocci more than others, didn't disseminate more than others, but if they did disseminate, they died more than others. So controlling sugar impacts survivability (there's a higher risk of contracting cocci for diabetics, as well as certain ethnic groups, and people with immune-compromised conditions).
  • If you've been infected with one strain of cocci, you'll likely be immune to the other... there seems to be cross-protection.  
  • There was a cocci outbreak 2011-2014 among workers in an eastern San Luis Obispo county solar project. Most were electricians (33%) equipment operators 26% and laborers 14%. That was surprising because it was assumed that the workers closer to the dirt would have higher rates of infection. Dust levels were reportedly high. 60% of workers said they never wore respirators on site. The recommendation was to wet soil down more during construction... during a drought. Someone said that they wonder what's going to be done about the California High Speed Rail Project that is supposed to go the length of the San Joaquin Valley, where so many cocci spores live.

    I look forward to the 2016 meeting that has been scheduled for April 9, 2016 at UCSF Fresno Center for Medical Education and Research.


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