[MARMAM] New publication: Novel presentation of coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever) in a sea otter

Heather Harris harrish at tmmc.org
Thu Jan 18 09:10:39 PST 2024

We are pleased to share our new publication in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases with the MARMAM community:

Harris HS, Harris MD, Thompson GR, Engelthaler DM, Montfort PL, Leviner AL, and Miller MA. 2024. Novel Presentation of Coccidioidomycosis with Myriad Free-Floating Proteinaceous Spheres in the Pericardial Sac of a Southern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris nereis). Journal of Wildlife Diseases 60(1):223-228. https://doi.org/10.7589/JWD-D-23-00045

Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever) is a climate driven One Health issue impacting humans, domestic animals, and wildlife with a hotspot in San Luis Obispo County, California. Marine mammals are infected via land to sea transfer of airborne fungal spores during dry windy conditions. Sea otters typically present with severe, fatal pulmonary disease and systemic fungal dissemination. Here we present a novel case of a dead stranded southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) with a distended pericardial sac filled with thousands of free-floating masses in the absence of gross pulmonary lesions, confirmed as Coccidioides immitis via culture, serology, PCR, and sequencing. Anthropogenic land use practices that cause soil disturbance and exacerbate drought enhance the risk of exposure. Range expansion of this zoonotic pathogen and increased incidence in humans and animals is predicted with climate change, so clinicians and biologists should be aware of this unusual presentation.

This article is available on the Journal of Wildlife Diseases website. If you don't have access, feel free to reach out via email to request a pdf.

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Heather S. Harris, DVM, MPVM, Dipl. ACVPM
Associate Veterinarian- San Luis Obispo Operations

HarrisH at tmmc.org<mailto:HarrisH at tmmc.org> |  C: 415.517.5514 | MarineMammalCenter.org<http://www.marinemammalcenter.org/>
The Marine Mammal Center, 1385 Main Street, Morro Bay, CA 93442

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