Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis)
What is it? Where is it found? How do people get it?
All very important questions and you’ve come to the right place for the answer, especially if you’re in Kern County, California.
So what is Valley Fever?
To put it simply, it’s an illness that typically affects the lungs, caused by a fungus that grows and lives in the dirt, most commonly found in the Southwest United States. The fungus (Coccidioides) can live for a long time in harsh heat, cold & drought environments. The spores that cause the disease are released into the air when the dirt is disturbed and picked up with wind and dust. It’s estimated that 150,000 infections occur each year throughout the United States, with the majority of those infections producing little to no symptoms.
Where is the Valley Fever Fungus found the most?
Climates that allow the fungus to grow include some areas of southwestern United States (Arizona, California, New Mexico & Texas), parts of Mexico, Central and South America. In California, our very own San Joaquin Valley (Central Valley) has the dirt and weather conditions that promote the growth of this fungus.