'Valley Fever' Cases Surge in California, Arizona
Drought causing spread of fungus-laced spores
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2013 3:56 AM CDT
The fever is caused by a fungus that lives in soil in the southwestern US.   (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

(Newser) – Public health officials in arid parts of the American West are battling a huge rise in cases of a dust-borne disease many people have never heard of. Valley fever is contracted when people breathe in fungus-laced spores, and the drier, warmer conditions of recent years have contributed to an 850% rise in cases since 1998, mostly in Arizona and California, the AP reports. Around half of infections do not result in symptoms, which include mild to severe flu-like symptoms; but disability or death occurs in a small percentage of cases where the infection spreads from the lungs to other parts of the body.

The outbreak has hit hardest in central California, where 3,000 inmates classed as vulnerable to infection were recently transferred out of two San Joaquin Valley prisons where the fever has killed dozens of people over the last few years. "Valley fever is a very common problem here, and it devastates people's lives," says the chief of infectious diseases at Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield. "But many patients don't know about it, and some physicians are only vaguely aware of it because half of our physicians come from out of state."

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Showing 3 of 16 comments
Norman Johnson
Mar 7, 2014 3:57 PM CST
Never heard of it.Is it anything like Anthrax? Good luck suing the governor.good luck suing the prison.
HMD-SMD-ITY
May 14, 2013 1:35 AM CDT
I'm going to be your long running infomercial for a change. I'm going to shamelessly hawk some products related to this article. No, I'm not a licensed medical professional but I often play one on the internet. So, the fungus is among us. What do we do, how do we treat it? First of all, you must take away what it likes to eat. So what does fungus like to consume to grow and thrive? Easy, simple sugars. So what do you remove from your diet to starve them away? Basically anything white like sugar, flour, starch, carbs. That is called Phase I. How long do you have to stay on it? Until all symptoms of fungus goes away. So you go to the doc with fungus symptoms and you need immediate relief. So what do you tell your doctor to write for you? Easy, tell him/her you did your research and would like to take Nystatin for a while. Its safe, effective, and has no side effects. Be sure you aren't on antibiotics because they actually help fungus. So you don't do any of that and you develop diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, MS, cancer,and a host of other problems. You blame everything else except fungus and you just can't defeat it. So here's a small phrase to help you along----->>>> FUPO. Fungus Until Proven Otherwise....... So run, don't walk to a search engine and look up Phase I diet. Find Doug Kaufman's page and start saving your lfe in a fungal world.........
fractal
May 6, 2013 4:00 PM CDT
Years ago, my mom took a trip to south CA, and came back sick. She had a chronic low level lung infection that antibiotics could not cure. It took 2 years and three specialists for them to figure out it was fungal. Now I know why.