History of Valley Fever

One of the oldest and most studied fungal diseases

.

The medical name for Valley Fever is coccidioidomycosis – often called “cocci” for short.  Valley Fever is caused by a fungus which is a member of the plant family.  Molds and mushrooms are examples of other members of the fungus group of plants.  The first case reported in the World occurred in 1892 in an Argentinian soldier.  Two years later two researchers recognized a similar case in a Portuguese immigrant farm laborer working in the San Joaquin Valley of Central California.  In Kern County, the first case recognized and reported occurred in August, 1901.  Kern’s first case occurred in a 19-year-old man who worked as a canner and been a resident for only 12 days.

.

Use the arrows < > to move the timeline in either direction.

1892

First Documented Case in World


Domingo Ezcurra
36-year-old Argentinean Soldier
Read more

1893

First Documented Case in US


Joas Furtado Silveira was the second case. He emigrated from Azores in 1886 and worked as a farm laborer near Modesto, CA
Read more

1896

Emmet Rixford and T.C. Gilchrist


Credited for naming organism
Coccidioides immitis
Read more

1900

William Ophulus and
Herbert Moffitt


Determined Coccidioides immitis to be caused by a fungus and not a protozoan
Read more

1901

First Documented Case in Kern


19-year-old male cannery worker
Read more

1905

William Ophuls


Determined lungs were the entry point for the disease and described the clinical spectrum
Read more

1908

Earnest Dickson


Begins his work at Stanford University
Read more

1924

Skin Testing Begins with Coccidioidin

Read more

1928

California makes Cocci a reportable disease

Read more

1929

Harold D. Chope Accidentally Inhales Coccides

Medical student working in Ernest Dicksons Lab at Stanford
Read more

1929

C. E. Smith Replaces Harold Chope

Becomes the Wandering Epidemiologist
Read more

1930

First Worker’s Compensation Case in Kern County

Shell Oil Company employee receives compensation for Coccidioidomycosis
Read more

1931

Kern County Public Health Department Established

Read more

1932

First Soil Isolation of Fungus


Coccidioides isolated from soil in Delano
Read more

1934

Myrnie Gifford, M.D., M.P.H.


Joined Kern County Health Department
Read more

1935

Dickson-Gifford Break-Through


Read more

1940s

Serologial Tests Developed and Standardized

Read more

1951

Hans Einstein Comes to Kern


Read more

1955

Reporting Includes Mild Valley Fever Cases

Read more

1956

J.L. Converse Perfected Lab Growth of Sperules

Read more

1956

Coccidioidomycosis Study Group (CSG) Formed

Read more

1957

First Treatment for Valley Fever


Read more

1959

Thomas R. Larwood, MD


Read more

1960

Treatment for Meningitis


Read more

~1963

M. Gifford Visits H.B. Levine


Read more

1975

D. Pappagianis and H. B. Levine


Vaccine Study
Read more

1975

Royce Johnson, MD FACP


Joined Kern Medical Center Faculty
Read more

1977

Tempest from Tehachapi


Epidemiologic Study by H. Einstein and D. Pappagianis
Read more

1980

First Vaccine Trial in Kern County


Read more

1981

Ketoconazole Approved by FDA


Read more

Early 1990’s

Fluconazole and Itraconazole Enter the Game

Read more

1991

Great Epidemic Begins in Kern


Read more

1991

Oral Azoles Used to Treat Meningitis








Read more

1991

Studies from the Great Epidemic


Read more

1994

Northridge Earthquake


Read more

1995

Report on the Control of Coccidioidomycosis

Read more

1995-1996

Case Definition Established


Read more

1995

Rotary America's Foundation/Valley Fever Vaccine Project


Read more

~1996

Skin Test is No Longer Available

Read more

1997

Arizona Makes Valley Fever Reportable for Labs

Read more

2000

Construction on La Paloma Power Generating Plant

Read more

2001

World Championship of Model Airplane Event in Kern County

Read more

2002

Coccidioides posadassi Identified


Read more

2003

Taft Outbreak


Kern County
Read more

2003

Pleasant Valley State Prison Outbreak

Fresno County
Read more

2003

Edwards Air Force Base Dust Storm

Read more

2005

ISDA Treatment Guidelines Published

Read more

2010

Second Great Epidemic Hits in Kern County

Read more

2010

California Makes Cocci Lab Reportable

Read more

2011

First Meeting of the California Cocci Collaborative

Michael MacLean, M.D., M.S., Health Officer, Kings County
Read more

2011

KCPHSD Lab Begins 24 Turn Around for Testing

Read more

2012

Kern County Begins Enhanced Surveillance

Read more

2014

Skin Testing Antigen Available for Clinicians & Research

Read more

2025

Valley Fever Vaccine is Available


Read more

Graph TipGraphs & Charts Tip:

The data in these graphs is interactive. Use your mouse pointer to dig into the statistics to find even more information.

 

The graphs display the Valley Fever cases and rates per 100,000 for Kern County from 1935 to 2015.  To view the cases or the rate, point to the year and the year and measure will be displayed.  It is important to note that only the severe form of Valley Fever (disseminate disease) was counted up to July 1955.  From July 1955 up to present, all forms are counted.

Although there were 77 cases reported between 1901 and 1929, very little information is available by year so they have been exclude from the graphs.  This is not surprising since the Kern County Health Department was established in 1931.

The first Great Epidemic began in 1991 and ended in 1994.  The second Great Epidemic began in 2010 and is still continuing.

Click on the second tab to display the Valley Fever deaths and rates per 100,000 for Kern County from 1935 to 2015. The drop the in the number of deaths and rate per 100,000 is not surprising since treatment began with amphotericin B in the late 1950’s. Similarly, the newer drugs in the 1980’s and 1990’s have continued to help prevent death and disability for person’s with Valley Fever.