Public Health Agencies Under Pressure To Curb Growing Valley Fever Threat

In a California Healthline Special Report by Deirdre Kennedy, experts discussed the rising threat of valley fever throughout much of Southern California, and what state and federal officials plan to do about it.

Valley fever is a potentially fatal disease spread by a fungus in the soil. When human activities such as plowing land or building houses churns up that soil, the fungal spores become airborne. Valley fever has been considered a disease confined to the Central Valley region, but it spreads to nearby counties — including San Luis Obispo, Imperial and Los Angeles counties – during hot, dry weather.

Federal officials have ramped up pressure and provided money to combat treatment of the disease’s symptoms, but there is no vaccine and no real cure for valley fever.

The Special Report includes comments from:

  • Robert Levin, public health officer at the Ventura County Public Health Department; and
  • George Rutherford, professor of epidemiology at UC-San Francisco (Kennedy, California Healthline, 6/13).

The complete transcript of this Special Report is available as a PDF.

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