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.