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Revista argentina de dermatología

versión On-line ISSN 1851-300X


NEGRONI, R. History of the discovery of the coccidioidomycosis. Rev. argent. dermatol. [online]. 2011, vol.92, n.3. ISSN 1851-300X.

Coccidioidomycosis is a systemic mycosis, endemic in arid regions of the American continent; it is due to the dimorphic fungi Coccidiodes immitis and Coccidiodes posadasii. The aim of this presentation is to relate the way in which this mycosis and its etiologic agents were discovered. The disease was reported for the first time in Buenos Aires in 1892, by Posadas and Wernicke. They performed a very skilful research, considered outstanding in those days. They  did a very nice  description  of the clinical manifestations of the chronic disseminated form of coccidioidomycosis, the histopathology of skin and lymph nodes lesions, the microscopic aspects of the etiologic agent in tissues and they were able to reproduce the disease in several animal species. Posadas and Wernicke considered that this infectious disease was due to protozoa of the gender Psorosperma and they could not obtain cultures "in vitro". The first Californian patient suffering this mycosis was reported by Rixford and Gilchrist in San Francisco, in 1894. The patient was a rural worker who had come from San Joaquin Valley. They also thought that the etiologic agent was protozoa and they named this microorganism Coccidiodes immitis. In 1900, Ophüls and Moffit were able to reproduce this disease in guinea pigs by the inoculation with a white mould which had been isolated from patient's lesions. In this way they proved the fungal nature of the etiologic agent of coccidioidomycosis. After Ophüls studies the Californian researchers proved the existence of benign and self limited forms of infection, the diagnostic importance of coccidioidin skin and serologic tests, the infection portal of entry, the efficacy of different treatments and, more recently the genetic characteristics of the etiologic agents.

Palabras clave : Coccidioidomycosis; History; Coccidiodes immitis; Coccidiodes posadasii.

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