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COCCIDIOIDOMYCOSIS is a mycotic infection caused by the dimorphic fungus Coccidioides species (C immitis and C posadasii) that affects both human beings and domestic animals (Gross and others 2005, Barker and others 2007, Caswell and Williams 2007, Parish and Blair 2008). Inhalation of airborne arthroconidia is responsible for a systemic disease in animals characterised by fever, anorexia, depression, cough and dyspnoea (Gross and others 2005, Caswell and Williams 2007). Neurological, ophthalmological, cardiac and osseous manifestations have also been reported (Caswell and Williams 2007, Shubitz 2007, Graupmann-Kuzma and others 2008). Less commonly, local inoculation of Coccidioides species may produce a solitary cutaneous lesion, usually without systemic involvement (Plotnick and others 1997, Gross and others 2005). Coccidioidomycosis is an endemic zoonosis in the south-western USA, northern Mexico and some areas of Central and South America, and remains very rare outside endemic regions (Caswell and Williams 2007, Parish and Blair 2008). However, at a time when the movement of people and their companion animals is increasingly common, it is important to be aware that they can carry a variety of infectious agents from endemic to disease-free regions, thus contributing to the emergence of imported diseases. In fact, during the past decade, some cases of coccidioidomycosis have been reported in European and Asian citizens who had travelled to endemic areas (Chandesris and others 2008, Hombach and others 2008, Indhirajanti and others 2009, Kwok and others 2009). However, to date there are no documented cases of coccidioidal infection in animals outside endemic regions.
This short communication describes a case of coccidioidomycosis in Europe, imported by a cat travelling from the south-western USA.
A four-year-old male domestic shorthair cat, born and resident in the state of Texas, was brought to …