This is a disease that many would just as soon sweep under the rug - you've laid the dust out where all can see - Sandra Larson


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The Deadly Valley Fever Epidemic Is Getting Worse in the American Southwest

When Pauline moved to Arizona with her husband, the couple was oblivious to the fungal maelstrom engulfing their new subdivision. Construction workers and street sweepers kicked up the desert dust around them—dust that was invisibly laden with the spores of a killer.

The Coccidioides fungus that Pauline inhaled shortly after moving into her Phoenix house commonly resides in soils of the American Southwest. Infection, called coccidioidomycosis, doesn't produce symptoms in many cases. But when it does, the infection—also known as valley fever—can eat away at its victim’s insides, occasionally leading to death.

The debilitating affliction has reached epidemic proportions in…

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 The Deadly Valley Fever Epidemic Is Getting Worse in the American Southwest

For the majority of patients, cocci produces few, if any, symptoms, and often a single infection can produce lifelong immunity. But recent transplants to the Southwest don't have any such immunity, and those transplants with weakened immune systems, as well as the elderly, are the most likely to die from it.

Coccidioidomycosis Study Group

The Coccidioidomycosis Study Group was created in San Francisco, California on July 18, 1956. This group oversees conferences, annual meetings and research studies. Much of the documented knowledge of the pathogenesis, mycology and clinical aspects of Coccidioidomycosis originated from studies performed by this research group.

Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) in Kern County

We love the people, their pets and the wildlife of Kern County and the other areas affected by Valley Fever. It’s our mission to support quality of life for everyone, the young and young at heart, so they can enjoy long healthy lives, despite living in the wake of Valley Fever. Because Valley Fever (coccidioidomycosis) poses a threat to that quality of life, we aim our resources and medical expertise at this disease to help educate the public and defeat Valley Fever one case at a time.

Valley Fever Americas Foundation

The Valley Fever Americas Foundation (VFAF) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit foundation established in 1995 for the purpose to raise funds for the development of a vaccine for Coccidioidomycosis, also known as Valley Fever. Valley Fever Americas Foundation has also focused on increasing public awareness and education regarding the diagnosis and treatment of valley fever.

Valley Fever Center for Excellence

Two-thirds of all U.S. Valley Fever infections are contracted in Arizona even though nationally, Valley Fever is uncommon and considered an orphan disease. The Arizona Board of Regents established the Valley Fever Center for Excellence at the University of Arizona to improve understanding, medical care, and research about this disease.

Valley Fever Survivor

Sounding the alarm on the Valley Fever epidemic since 2002.


It’s difficult to prevent exposure to Coccidioides in areas where it’s common in the environment, but people who are at higher risk for severe valley fever should try to avoid breathing in large amounts of dust if they’re in these areas.

The infection is rarely fatal in healthy people. Some people with the disease develop pneumonia. In a very small number of cases, the infection spreads to other areas of the body, such as the meninges (membranes around the brain and spinal cord), bones, skin, and other tissues. These serious conditions may occur months after the initial infection.


People are infected by inhaling dust contaminated with Coccidioides; the fungus in not transmitted from person to person. Although most people infected with Coccidioides have no symptoms, if symptoms develop, they usually occur in the lung and initially resemble the flu or pneumonia (cough, fever, malaise, sputum production, and shortness of breath).


A chronic form of this infection can develop 20 or more years after first infection. Lung abscesses can form and rupture, releasing pus (empyema) between the lungs and ribs (pleural space).

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