By: Julie Giyer
Kern Valley Sun
Valley fever is on the climb in California and across the southwest. 7,768 reports have been confirmed by California Public Health Officials since November of 2019.
Symptoms can include cough, fatigue, headache, fever, rash or muscle aches. While the majority of people infected will experience mild flu-like symptoms or no symptoms at all, as many as 10 percent develop serious, sometimes long-term lung problems, including pneumonia. Many need to be treated with anti-fungal medications, but others typically get rid of the virus within weeks to months. Rates are typically higher amongst people aged 60 or older.
A vaccine for Valley Fever is still out of reach, yet the CDC is doing what they can to expand the surveillance, awareness, and research efforts for the 2020 year. Democratic lawmakers have been addressing a legislation designed to combat Valley Fever through enhanced treatment, diagnosis, and vaccine development.
According to California Democratic Representative Jimmy Panetta, “The End Valley Fever Now Act will help train our local medical providers to diagnose and treat those exposed to this disease. It will also help us to be more proactive in vaccine development by collecting critical clinical data. Our legislation is an important step forward in combating this disease and protecting our community members.”
Outbreaks do occasionally occur, especially after events that disturb large amounts of soil. You can contact your local or state health department for the most up-to-date information about outbreaks or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention online to learn more about Valley Fever.