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Coccidioidomycosis in alpacas in the southwestern United States

Butkiewicz, Christine D., Shubitz, Lisa F.
Transboundary and emerging diseases 2019 v.66 no.2 pp. 807-812
Coccidioides, Internet, alpacas, coccidioidomycosis, death, disease severity, emerging diseases, human diseases, liver, lungs, lymph nodes, necropsy, signs and symptoms (animals and humans), surveys, Arizona
An anonymous web‐based survey of alpaca owners was used to learn more about the clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of coccidioidomycosis in alpacas in the United States. Thirty‐seven owners, with 1,117 alpacas, completed the survey. Over 4% of alpacas included in the study were diagnosed with coccidioidomycosis between 2005 and 2016 (5 post mortem, 46 clinically). Immunodiffusion titers ranged from 1:4 to ≥1:256 in sick animals. Alpacas residing in Arizona counties with a high incidence of human disease were 5.8 times more likely to contract coccidioidomycosis than animals residing in other areas of the state. Treatment was reported in 23 alpacas, and 78% of those animals died or were euthanized. Necropsy records from a veterinary diagnostic laboratory in Tucson, AZ were reviewed to estimate the severity of disease in this species. Nine cases identified for review died of disseminated coccidioidomycosis; the disease was extensive in most animals, with the lungs, lymph nodes, and liver the most frequently affected. Alpacas appear to be highly susceptible to severe illness as a result of infection by Coccidioides spp., frequently resulting in death. More research is needed to better understand the epidemiology, clinical signs, and treatment protocols for coccidioidomycosis in alpacas.