|SAYS THE NEWS:|
Washington, DC – Valley Fever, a fungal respiratory infection, dramatically increased in several southwestern states from 1998 through 2011, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cases in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah rose from 2,265 in 1998 to more than 22,000 in 2011.
Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) is caused by inhaling a fungus called Coccidioides, which lives in the soil in the southwestern United States. Not everyone who is exposed to the fungus gets sick, but those who do typically have flu-like symptoms that can last for weeks or months. More than 40 percent of patients who get ill from Valley Fever may require hospitalization at some point, with an average cost of nearly $50,000 per hospital visit. Previous studies have shown that, of those who get sick, nearly 75 percent miss work or school – for approximately two weeks.