HomeLatest NewsValley Fever Could Spread From Southwest, Driven By Climate Change, Researchers Warn

Valley Fever Could Spread From Southwest, Driven By Climate Change, Researchers Warn

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Most people suffering from fatigue, fever and cough are likely to have COVID-19 or cold flu.
However, symptoms that are common in the southwest United States could be indicative of Valley fever. Scientists predict that the illness could eventually spread to other parts of the country.

Valley fever, named after California’s San Joaquin Valley, is caused by inhaling spores from a fungus called Coccidioides. These spores are found in soil.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most cases are in Southern Arizona and Southern California. However, the disease is also present in New Mexico and Nevada as well as parts of Washington State.

The CDC reported that Valley fever cases had surpassed 20,000 nationally by 2019.

According to the California Department for Public Health, reported cases increased by threefold between 2014-2018.

Fox News Digital spoke to Dr. George Thompson, a professor of UC Davis Health who is also co-director at the Center for Valley fever, Sacramento.

He said, “We have seen an increase in patients over the past five years and that a greater number are coming to our clinic for treatment and diagnosis.”

The CDC points out that while geographic location increases the risk of Valley fever, it is not the only factor.

This includes people over 60, those with weakened immune systems due to certain medical conditions and pregnant women, people with diabetes and people of color.

Experts say symptoms of Valley fever are similar to those experienced by patients with COVID-19.

He said that he sees patients with severe respiratory illnesses.

Thompson estimates that 1% to 3% of people will get meningitis.

Rob Purdie, then 38 years old, was suffering from severe headaches and nausea on New Year’s Day 2012.

The spores of the fungal infection had spread from his lungs into his brain and nervous system. This could have led to a potentially fatal condition.

He said that it felt like the worst hangover he’d ever experienced, but he hadn’t drunk any alcohol the night before. Fox News Digital.

Purdie was not feeling well after his two rounds of antibiotics.

Cluster headaches were the next diagnosis. However, a new medication did not help.

Purdie was experiencing double vision and ended up at the Kern Valley ER. A spinal tap revealed that Purdie had Valley fever-related meningitis.

The spores of the fungal infection had spread from his lungs into his brain and nervous system. This could have led to a potentially fatal condition.

He said that this was only the beginning of many years of medication and treatments, some with life-altering side effect.

Purdie still suffers from the effects of Valley fever disseminated coccidioidalmeningitis ten years later.

He is passionate about advocating on behalf of other patients, raising awareness about the disease, and lobbying for funding for research and public health.

He said that he is given an antifungal treatment every few weeks through a port in the back of his head.

Purdie is a Kern Medical’s Valley Fever Institute patient coordinator. This facility saved his life. Purdie is passionate about advocacy for other patients, raising awareness about the disease, and lobbying for funding for research and public health.

Is it possible to spread the virus across the country?
Morgan Gorris published a 2019 study in GeoHealth that suggested that climate change could lead to an increase of Valley fever in the northwestern states. This included Idaho, Wyoming and Montana as well as South Dakota, South Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and South Dakota.

According to the study, Valley fever cases will be arriving in northern Utah and eastern Colorado as early as 2035. Gorris, who is also the author of the study, predicts that Valley fever will be endemic in Nebraska and southeastern Montana by 2065 and South Dakota by 2095.

Another study has shown that the rise in Valley fever cases is linked to an increase of dust storms. A GeoHealth study done by Daniel Q. Tong (scientist and professor at George Mason University, Virginia) found that Southwest dust storms have increased by 2450% in the 1990s to 2000s. This was followed by a spike of 800% in Valley fever cases in 2001 and 2011.

Purdie believes that Valley fever could increase with changing climate patterns and population growth.

Although there is no vaccine against Valley fever, Dr. Thompson is positive about the progress towards that goal. Thompson pointed out three vaccines in development at the moment, one of which has been tested successfully with dogs.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIAID), recently announced $4.5 Million in funding for research to develop diagnostics, therapies, and vaccines.

Thompson treats Valley fever patients often with antifungal medication such as Fluconazole or Itraconazole.

Thompson explained that Valley fever is often caused by soil fungus. Thompson said that he sees many cases in people who work in archeology, or who spend a lot time outside.

The doctor suggests that high-risk patients avoid construction sites and areas where soil is frequently stirred into the air.

To minimize dusty exposure, people can wear an N95 respirator.

Thompson stressed the importance to seek early diagnosis and treatment.

According to the CDC, a blood test can be sent to a laboratory to confirm a Valley fever infection. A chest X-ray can also detect pneumonia cases.

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