Valley Fever

JURY RETURNS NEARLY $12 MILLION VERDICT AGAINST CALTRANS FOR VALLEY FEVER EXPOSURE IN CONTRACTOR’S WORKERS

East County News Service

January 22, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) — Residents in San Diego’s East County have raised fears of spreading Valley Fever spores in their arguments against projects ranging from a sand mine in Lakeside to solar projects in Boulevard and Jacumba.  Now a jury in Northern California has shown just how expensive a verdict might be for a government entity or company that ignores such risks.

THE COST OF VALLEY FEVER: HUMAN AND ECONOMIC

 

San Diego has sixth highest rate of valley fever in California; concerns voiced that Imperial County cases may be under-reported

By Janice Arenofsky

July 13, 2014 (San Diego)--More than 160 scientists, researchers and regional activists met in Phoenix on April 5th to learn about and exchange views on the human and economic costs of Coccidioidomycosis (valley fever). Due to recent national and local media coverage of the valley fever epidemic across the Southwest and formation of a Cocci Congressional Task Force headed by two U.S. House Republicans from California and Arizona-- Kevin McCarthy and David Schweikert--the 58th Annual Meeting of the Cocci Study Group brought together a historic number of attendees.

Keynote speaker Steven Holland, MD, deputy director for intramural clinical research at the National Institutes of Health, spoke about human DNA mutations that leave a percentage of people especially vulnerable to valley fever, mycobacterial disease and Job’s Syndrome (immune-mediated disease). Holland concluded that in certain extreme cases of cocci, bone marrow transplants should be considered. He anticipates receiving more referrals of seriously ill cocci patients from Arizona and California physicians.

FROM THE FIRE CHIEF'S CORNER: DROUGHT AND YOUR HEALTH

 

FIRE CHIEF SAM DIGIOVANNA

Drought and Your Health

June 23, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Summer is officially here and with more than half the U.S. currently in drought, there are concerns over the consequences of not only the country's crop yields and wildfires, but also on human health reminds Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.

SECOND DUST STORM STRIKES OCOTILLO; COULD DESERT ENERGY PROJECTS BE THE CAUSE?

 

 

An ECM special investigation continues, finding links between rise in dust storms across outhwest, Valley Fever epidemic, and installation of large-scale desert solar and wind projects

By Miriam Raftery

 

August 26, 2013 (Ocotillo)--A second dust storm has struck Ocotillo on Auugust 25, just two days after an earlier dust storm swept through the desert community.  Dust billowed thousands of feet into the air, dwarfing  a 500 foot tall wind turbines scarcely visible in the above photo.  East County Magazine photographer Jim Pelley was in the midst of the storm and shot videos: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7Jz2KQmVZs&feature=youtu.be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ViBPc25iIE&feature=youtu.be

EAST COUNTY RESIDENTS ASK COUNTY’S TOP HEALTH OFFICIAL TO REVISE REPORT, RECOGNIZE SERIOUS HEALTH IMPACTS FROM WIND TURBINES

 

By Nadin Abbott and Sierra Robinson;  Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

“This is an epidemic and we need help.” – Rowena Elliott, Manzanita tribal member

(photos left, David and Rowena Elliott)

May 6, 2013 (San Diego) –At a press conference outside the county administration building today, backcountry residents living near wind turbines told the media of serious health conditions they are suffering.  With Wednesday’s vote on a county wind ordinance looming, residents called on the county’s top health official, Wilma Wooten, to revise her report and recognize health concerns linked to wind turbines.

According to Donna Tisdale, President of the Boulevard Planning Group and founder of two community nonprofits, the vote is critical. Supervisors will “either sell us out, remove our human and property rights, or the Board (of Supervisors) will vote to protect the community.” 

If that doesn't happen, residents are prepared to file suit, they said.

VALLEY FEVER EPIDEMIC LINKED TO DESERT SOLAR CONSTRUCTION; HEIGHTENS CONCERNS OVER RISKS FROM LARGE-SCALE WIND AND SOLAR PROJECTS

 

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

“The threat of acquiring the respiratory illness extends to residents living near expansive construction sites. That risk is rising given the scope of the renewable energy boom centered in the state.” – Los Angeles Times

May 6, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Valley Fever has sickened 28 workers at two large-scale solar facilities under construction in San Luis Obispo County, the Los Angeles Times reported on April 30.  The disease is contracted by breathing in fungal spores released when desert soils are disturbed.

The finding is the latest in a series of disturbing reports on epidemic Valley Fever conditions in California and across the Southwest.  With numerous large-scale solar projects and wind projects proposed for East County that would scrape bare thousands of acres of high desert terrain, public health concerns over the prospect of exposing residents to Valley Fever are growing.  Since wind-blown spores can carry 75 miles or more, residents across San Diego County could be at risk of the potentially deadly disease.

EXPERTS SHARE LATEST RESEARCH ON VALLEY FEVER

 

Disease is on the rise in San Diego County

By Janice Arenofsky

April 29, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)--In early April, some of the world’s foremost experts in coccidioidomycosis presented published papers on the epidemiology, laboratory science and clinical status of , a fungal disease endemic to Southwestern states like Arizona, California, New Mexico and Nevada.  Valley Fever attacks the human and animal respiratory systems and can disseminate to other organs in the body, proving fatal in some cases.

VALLEY FEVER CASES SKYROCKET TEN-FOLD ACROSS SOUTHWEST; OVER 25% OF CASES ARE IN CALIFORNIA

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 29, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – The Centers for Disease Control yesterday issued a press release warning that cases of Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis), a fungal respiratory disease, have risen sharply across the southwest including California.  Cases rose nearly ten-fold from 2,265 in 1998 to over 22,000 in 2011 in southwestern states.

California now accounts for 25% all cases, trailing only Arizona, which has 70% of cases.   The fungus occurs naturally in dry soils of the southwest and is spread through the air when people inhale the spores. Outbreaks have occurred following wildfires and those in occupations exposed to dust are at higher risk, such as construction workers, archaeologists, farm workers and Border Patrol agents.

VALLEY FEVER BLOWING ON A HOTTER WIND

New weather conditions brought on by climate change may help spread a fungal disease endemic to the Southwest known as valley fever

By Janice Arenofsky and Environmental Health News

October 26, 2012 --It's high noon, and the 112–degree summer heat—up from a decade ago—stalks Arizona's Sonoran Desert. By late afternoon, dark clouds threaten, and monsoon winds beat the earth into a mass of swirling sand. Thick walls of surface soil blind drivers on the Interstate.

BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND: OCOTILLO RESIDENTS DECRY DUST RAISED BY WIND PROJECT

 By: Miriam Raftery

June 13, 2012 (Ocotillo) – Why hasn’t the Bureau of Land Management taken steps to protect Ocotillo area residents from clouds of dust in an area with high rates of childhood asthma and where soil reportedly contains potentially deadly Valley Fever spores?

Despite numerous complaints including photos and videos of dust billowing up from construction activities at Pattern Energy’s Ocotillo Express wind energy site, the apparent health hazard continues.