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California, Arizona see spike in valley fever cases as worsening drought kicks up dust

Posted by on May. 6, 2013 at 1:38 AM
  • 13 Replies

FRESNO, Calif. — California and federal public health officials say valley fever, a potentially lethal but often misdiagnosed disease infecting more and more people around the nation, has been on the rise as warming climates and drought have kicked up the dust that spreads it.

The fever has hit California’s agricultural heartland particularly hard in recent years, with incidence dramatically increasing in 2010 and 2011. The disease — which is prevalent in arid regions of the United States, Mexico, Central and South America — can be contracted by simply breathing in fungus-laced spores from dust disturbed by wind as well as human or animal activity.

The fungus is sensitive to environmental changes, experts say, and a hotter, drier climate has increased dust carrying the spores.

“Research has shown that when soil is dry and it is windy, more spores are likely to become airborne in endemic areas,” said Dr. Gil Chavez, Deputy Director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at the California Department of Public Health.

Longstanding concerns about valley fever were heightened last week when a federal health official ordered the transfer of more than 3,000 exceptionally vulnerable inmates from two San Joaquin Valley prisons where several dozen have died of the disease in recent years. A day later, state officials began investigating an outbreak in February that sickened 28 workers at two solar power plants under construction in San Luis Obispo County.

Although millions of residents in Central California face the threat of valley fever, experts say people who work in dusty fields or construction sites are most at risk, as are certain ethnic groups and those with weak immune systems. Newcomers and visitors passing through the region may also be more susceptible.

Nationwide, the number of valley fever cases rose by more than 850 percent from 1998 through 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2011, there were nearly 22,000 cases, with most cases reported in California and Arizona.

In California, according to the CDC, valley fever cases rose from about 700 in 1998 to more than 5,500 cases reported in 2011. The disease has seen the sharpest rise in Kern County, followed by Kings and Fresno counties.

Out of the 18,776 California cases between 2001 and 2008, 265 people died, according to the state health department.

Arizona saw an even steeper rise: The number of reported cases there went from 1,400 in 1998 to 16,400 in 2011, with the highest rates of infection occurring in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties.

Drought periods can have an especially potent impact on valley fever if they follow periods of rain, said Prof. John Galgiani, director of the Valley Fever Center for Excellence at the University of Arizona. Rainfall leads to fungus bloom, but limits dust.

“When it dries up, that’s when the fungus goes into the air,” Galgiani said. “So when there is rain a year or two earlier, that creates more cases if drought follows.”

Another reason for the increase in cases, Galgiani said, is new residents, who are more susceptible to the disease, relocating to areas with the spores.


http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/california-arizona-see-spike-in-valley-fever-cases-as-worsening-drought-kicks-up-dust/2013/05/06/1be9770e-b60d-11e2-b568-6917f6ac6d9d_story.html



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by on May. 6, 2013 at 1:38 AM
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Replies (1-10):
turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on May. 6, 2013 at 2:53 AM

what does the disease do to the body?  ...850% rise in a 13 year period is huge IMO...unless it was one person in 1998 and 9 in 2011 LOL

funmommy123
by Bronze Member on May. 6, 2013 at 2:59 AM
Hmmmm....scary. my mom/sis lives in fresno.
stormcris
by Christy on May. 6, 2013 at 3:05 AM

From Mayo Clinic

Acute coccidioidomycosis (valley fever)
The initial, or acute, form of coccidioidomycosis is often mild, with few, if any, symptoms. When signs and symptoms do occur, they appear one to three weeks after exposure. They tend to resemble those of the flu, and can range from minor to severe:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Chest pain — varying from a mild feeling of constriction to intense pressure resembling a heart attack
  • Chills
  • Night sweats
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Joint aches
  • Red, spotty rash

The rash that sometimes accompanies valley fever is made up of painful red bumps that may later turn brown. The rash mainly appears on your lower legs, but sometimes on your chest, arms and back. Others may have a raised red rash with blisters or eruptions that look like pimples.

If you don't become ill from valley fever, you may learn that you've been infected only when you later have a positive skin or blood test or when small areas of residual infection (nodules) in the lungs show up on a routine chest X-ray. Although the nodules typically don't cause problems, they can look like cancer on X-ray.

If you do develop symptoms, especially severe ones, the course of the disease is highly variable. It can take months to fully recover, and fatigue and joint aches can last even longer. The severity of the disease depends on several factors, including your overall health and the number of fungus spores you inhale.

Chronic coccidioidomycosis
If the initial coccidioidomycosis infection doesn't completely resolve, it may progress to a chronic form of pneumonia. This complication is most common in people with weakened immune systems. You're likely to have periods of worsening symptoms alternating with periods of recovery. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Low-grade fever
  • Weight loss
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Blood-tinged sputum (matter discharged during coughing)
  • Nodules in the lungs

Disseminated coccidioidomycosis
The most serious form of the disease, disseminated coccidioidomycosis, occurs when the infection spreads (disseminates) beyond the lungs to other parts of the body. Most often these parts include the skin, bones, liver, brain, heart, and the membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord (meninges).

The signs and symptoms of disseminated disease depend on which parts of your body are affected and may include:

  • Nodules, ulcers and skin lesions that are more serious than the rash that sometimes occurs with other forms of the disease
  • Painful lesions in the skull, spine or other bones
  • Painful, swollen joints, especially in the knees or ankles
  • Meningitis — an infection of the membranes and fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord and the most deadly complication of valley fever

When to see a doctor 
Valley fever, even when it's symptomatic, often clears on its own. Yet for older adults and others at high risk, recovery can be slow, and the risk of developing severe disease is high.

Seek medical care if you are in a high-risk group and develop the signs and symptoms of valley fever, especially if you:

  • Live in or have recently traveled to an area where this disease is common
  • Have symptoms that aren't improving

Be sure to tell your doctor if you've traveled to a place where valley fever is endemic and you have symptoms. More and more, people who spend a few days golfing or hiking in Arizona return home with valley fever but are never tested for the disease.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/valley-fever/DS00695/DSECTION=symptoms

Quoting turtle68:

what does the disease do to the body?  ...850% rise in a 13 year period is huge IMO...unless it was one person in 1998 and 9 in 2011 LOL


turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on May. 6, 2013 at 3:30 AM

Thanks.

Has this disease claimed many lives....it seems pretty severe but vague on how many contract the severe form.  I mean a cold can affect everyone, but kill only a few if it becomes pnuemonia and spreads.  Although I must admit moving 3000 prisoners seems like overkill if that is the case LOL

Quoting stormcris:

From Mayo Clinic

Acute coccidioidomycosis (valley fever)
The initial, or acute, form of coccidioidomycosis is often mild, with few, if any, symptoms. When signs and symptoms do occur, they appear one to three weeks after exposure. They tend to resemble those of the flu, and can range from minor to severe:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Chest pain — varying from a mild feeling of constriction to intense pressure resembling a heart attack
  • Chills
  • Night sweats
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Joint aches
  • Red, spotty rash

The rash that sometimes accompanies valley fever is made up of painful red bumps that may later turn brown. The rash mainly appears on your lower legs, but sometimes on your chest, arms and back. Others may have a raised red rash with blisters or eruptions that look like pimples.

If you don't become ill from valley fever, you may learn that you've been infected only when you later have a positive skin or blood test or when small areas of residual infection (nodules) in the lungs show up on a routine chest X-ray. Although the nodules typically don't cause problems, they can look like cancer on X-ray.

If you do develop symptoms, especially severe ones, the course of the disease is highly variable. It can take months to fully recover, and fatigue and joint aches can last even longer. The severity of the disease depends on several factors, including your overall health and the number of fungus spores you inhale.

Chronic coccidioidomycosis
If the initial coccidioidomycosis infection doesn't completely resolve, it may progress to a chronic form of pneumonia. This complication is most common in people with weakened immune systems. You're likely to have periods of worsening symptoms alternating with periods of recovery. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Low-grade fever
  • Weight loss
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Blood-tinged sputum (matter discharged during coughing)
  • Nodules in the lungs

Disseminated coccidioidomycosis
The most serious form of the disease, disseminated coccidioidomycosis, occurs when the infection spreads (disseminates) beyond the lungs to other parts of the body. Most often these parts include the skin, bones, liver, brain, heart, and the membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord (meninges).

The signs and symptoms of disseminated disease depend on which parts of your body are affected and may include:

  • Nodules, ulcers and skin lesions that are more serious than the rash that sometimes occurs with other forms of the disease
  • Painful lesions in the skull, spine or other bones
  • Painful, swollen joints, especially in the knees or ankles
  • Meningitis — an infection of the membranes and fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord and the most deadly complication of valley fever

When to see a doctor 
Valley fever, even when it's symptomatic, often clears on its own. Yet for older adults and others at high risk, recovery can be slow, and the risk of developing severe disease is high.

Seek medical care if you are in a high-risk group and develop the signs and symptoms of valley fever, especially if you:

  • Live in or have recently traveled to an area where this disease is common
  • Have symptoms that aren't improving

Be sure to tell your doctor if you've traveled to a place where valley fever is endemic and you have symptoms. More and more, people who spend a few days golfing or hiking in Arizona return home with valley fever but are never tested for the disease.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/valley-fever/DS00695/DSECTION=symptoms

Quoting turtle68:

what does the disease do to the body?  ...850% rise in a 13 year period is huge IMO...unless it was one person in 1998 and 9 in 2011 LOL



jadedcynic
by NerdyJen on May. 6, 2013 at 3:55 AM
1 mom liked this

Yes, it can kill, especially those who are immune system deficient, such as elderly and children. It is more common in areas where there is a lot of soil that is being upturned, such as construction areas, but a dust storm can churn up the soil, too. 

I've lived in Arizona for about 11 years now and we hear about it quite often. Even pets can catch it. My friend's german shepard died of it.

Quoting turtle68:

Thanks.

Has this disease claimed many lives....it seems pretty severe but vague on how many contract the severe form.  I mean a cold can affect everyone, but kill only a few if it becomes pnuemonia and spreads.  Although I must admit moving 3000 prisoners seems like overkill if that is the case LOL

Quoting stormcris:

From Mayo Clinic

Acute coccidioidomycosis (valley fever)
The initial, or acute, form of coccidioidomycosis is often mild, with few, if any, symptoms. When signs and symptoms do occur, they appear one to three weeks after exposure. They tend to resemble those of the flu, and can range from minor to severe:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Chest pain — varying from a mild feeling of constriction to intense pressure resembling a heart attack
  • Chills
  • Night sweats
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Joint aches
  • Red, spotty rash

The rash that sometimes accompanies valley fever is made up of painful red bumps that may later turn brown. The rash mainly appears on your lower legs, but sometimes on your chest, arms and back. Others may have a raised red rash with blisters or eruptions that look like pimples.

If you don't become ill from valley fever, you may learn that you've been infected only when you later have a positive skin or blood test or when small areas of residual infection (nodules) in the lungs show up on a routine chest X-ray. Although the nodules typically don't cause problems, they can look like cancer on X-ray.

If you do develop symptoms, especially severe ones, the course of the disease is highly variable. It can take months to fully recover, and fatigue and joint aches can last even longer. The severity of the disease depends on several factors, including your overall health and the number of fungus spores you inhale.

Chronic coccidioidomycosis
If the initial coccidioidomycosis infection doesn't completely resolve, it may progress to a chronic form of pneumonia. This complication is most common in people with weakened immune systems. You're likely to have periods of worsening symptoms alternating with periods of recovery. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Low-grade fever
  • Weight loss
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Blood-tinged sputum (matter discharged during coughing)
  • Nodules in the lungs

Disseminated coccidioidomycosis
The most serious form of the disease, disseminated coccidioidomycosis, occurs when the infection spreads (disseminates) beyond the lungs to other parts of the body. Most often these parts include the skin, bones, liver, brain, heart, and the membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord (meninges).

The signs and symptoms of disseminated disease depend on which parts of your body are affected and may include:

  • Nodules, ulcers and skin lesions that are more serious than the rash that sometimes occurs with other forms of the disease
  • Painful lesions in the skull, spine or other bones
  • Painful, swollen joints, especially in the knees or ankles
  • Meningitis — an infection of the membranes and fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord and the most deadly complication of valley fever

When to see a doctor 
Valley fever, even when it's symptomatic, often clears on its own. Yet for older adults and others at high risk, recovery can be slow, and the risk of developing severe disease is high.

Seek medical care if you are in a high-risk group and develop the signs and symptoms of valley fever, especially if you:

  • Live in or have recently traveled to an area where this disease is common
  • Have symptoms that aren't improving

Be sure to tell your doctor if you've traveled to a place where valley fever is endemic and you have symptoms. More and more, people who spend a few days golfing or hiking in Arizona return home with valley fever but are never tested for the disease.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/valley-fever/DS00695/DSECTION=symptoms

Quoting turtle68:

what does the disease do to the body?  ...850% rise in a 13 year period is huge IMO...unless it was one person in 1998 and 9 in 2011 LOL




jadedcynic
by NerdyJen on May. 6, 2013 at 3:56 AM

Also, this isn't a short term disease. Even those who recover take months, even years to fully feel better.

Quoting turtle68:

Thanks.

Has this disease claimed many lives....it seems pretty severe but vague on how many contract the severe form.  I mean a cold can affect everyone, but kill only a few if it becomes pnuemonia and spreads.  Although I must admit moving 3000 prisoners seems like overkill if that is the case LOL

Quoting stormcris:

From Mayo Clinic

Acute coccidioidomycosis (valley fever)
The initial, or acute, form of coccidioidomycosis is often mild, with few, if any, symptoms. When signs and symptoms do occur, they appear one to three weeks after exposure. They tend to resemble those of the flu, and can range from minor to severe:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Chest pain — varying from a mild feeling of constriction to intense pressure resembling a heart attack
  • Chills
  • Night sweats
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Joint aches
  • Red, spotty rash

The rash that sometimes accompanies valley fever is made up of painful red bumps that may later turn brown. The rash mainly appears on your lower legs, but sometimes on your chest, arms and back. Others may have a raised red rash with blisters or eruptions that look like pimples.

If you don't become ill from valley fever, you may learn that you've been infected only when you later have a positive skin or blood test or when small areas of residual infection (nodules) in the lungs show up on a routine chest X-ray. Although the nodules typically don't cause problems, they can look like cancer on X-ray.

If you do develop symptoms, especially severe ones, the course of the disease is highly variable. It can take months to fully recover, and fatigue and joint aches can last even longer. The severity of the disease depends on several factors, including your overall health and the number of fungus spores you inhale.

Chronic coccidioidomycosis
If the initial coccidioidomycosis infection doesn't completely resolve, it may progress to a chronic form of pneumonia. This complication is most common in people with weakened immune systems. You're likely to have periods of worsening symptoms alternating with periods of recovery. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Low-grade fever
  • Weight loss
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Blood-tinged sputum (matter discharged during coughing)
  • Nodules in the lungs

Disseminated coccidioidomycosis
The most serious form of the disease, disseminated coccidioidomycosis, occurs when the infection spreads (disseminates) beyond the lungs to other parts of the body. Most often these parts include the skin, bones, liver, brain, heart, and the membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord (meninges).

The signs and symptoms of disseminated disease depend on which parts of your body are affected and may include:

  • Nodules, ulcers and skin lesions that are more serious than the rash that sometimes occurs with other forms of the disease
  • Painful lesions in the skull, spine or other bones
  • Painful, swollen joints, especially in the knees or ankles
  • Meningitis — an infection of the membranes and fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord and the most deadly complication of valley fever

When to see a doctor 
Valley fever, even when it's symptomatic, often clears on its own. Yet for older adults and others at high risk, recovery can be slow, and the risk of developing severe disease is high.

Seek medical care if you are in a high-risk group and develop the signs and symptoms of valley fever, especially if you:

  • Live in or have recently traveled to an area where this disease is common
  • Have symptoms that aren't improving

Be sure to tell your doctor if you've traveled to a place where valley fever is endemic and you have symptoms. More and more, people who spend a few days golfing or hiking in Arizona return home with valley fever but are never tested for the disease.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/valley-fever/DS00695/DSECTION=symptoms

Quoting turtle68:

what does the disease do to the body?  ...850% rise in a 13 year period is huge IMO...unless it was one person in 1998 and 9 in 2011 LOL




stormcris
by Christy on May. 6, 2013 at 4:26 AM
1 mom liked this

For the prisoners....they had more than three dozen (I think the accurate count is 43) to die from this disease in just two prisons so they had to do something to break up transmission. This prisons were overcrowded. 

Overall it is fatal in about 1% of the cases and 1990-2008 3089 people died from it. So it is estimated to be about 40 deaths per year. However, the infection rate seems to be skyrocketing so it is forseeable that many more deaths will occur as the cases increase.

From the CDC

• In 2011, more than 20,000 cases were reported in the US, twice as 

 many cases as tuberculosis. 

• Nearly 75% of people who get valley fever miss work or school due to 

 their illness, for a median of two weeks. 

• More than 40% of people who get valley fever need to be hospitalized. 

The average cost of a hospital stay for 

 valley fever is almost $50,000. 

They estimate 150,000 cases go undiagnosed each year.

70% of the cases occur in AZ and 25% in CA.


Quoting turtle68:

Thanks.

Has this disease claimed many lives....it seems pretty severe but vague on how many contract the severe form.  I mean a cold can affect everyone, but kill only a few if it becomes pnuemonia and spreads.  Although I must admit moving 3000 prisoners seems like overkill if that is the case LOL


turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on May. 6, 2013 at 4:49 AM

simple frown

Quoting jadedcynic:

Also, this isn't a short term disease. Even those who recover take months, even years to fully feel better.

Quoting turtle68:

Thanks.

Has this disease claimed many lives....it seems pretty severe but vague on how many contract the severe form.  I mean a cold can affect everyone, but kill only a few if it becomes pnuemonia and spreads.  Although I must admit moving 3000 prisoners seems like overkill if that is the case LOL

Quoting stormcris:

From Mayo Clinic

Acute coccidioidomycosis (valley fever)
The initial, or acute, form of coccidioidomycosis is often mild, with few, if any, symptoms. When signs and symptoms do occur, they appear one to three weeks after exposure. They tend to resemble those of the flu, and can range from minor to severe:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Chest pain — varying from a mild feeling of constriction to intense pressure resembling a heart attack
  • Chills
  • Night sweats
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Joint aches
  • Red, spotty rash

The rash that sometimes accompanies valley fever is made up of painful red bumps that may later turn brown. The rash mainly appears on your lower legs, but sometimes on your chest, arms and back. Others may have a raised red rash with blisters or eruptions that look like pimples.

If you don't become ill from valley fever, you may learn that you've been infected only when you later have a positive skin or blood test or when small areas of residual infection (nodules) in the lungs show up on a routine chest X-ray. Although the nodules typically don't cause problems, they can look like cancer on X-ray.

If you do develop symptoms, especially severe ones, the course of the disease is highly variable. It can take months to fully recover, and fatigue and joint aches can last even longer. The severity of the disease depends on several factors, including your overall health and the number of fungus spores you inhale.

Chronic coccidioidomycosis
If the initial coccidioidomycosis infection doesn't completely resolve, it may progress to a chronic form of pneumonia. This complication is most common in people with weakened immune systems. You're likely to have periods of worsening symptoms alternating with periods of recovery. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Low-grade fever
  • Weight loss
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Blood-tinged sputum (matter discharged during coughing)
  • Nodules in the lungs

Disseminated coccidioidomycosis
The most serious form of the disease, disseminated coccidioidomycosis, occurs when the infection spreads (disseminates) beyond the lungs to other parts of the body. Most often these parts include the skin, bones, liver, brain, heart, and the membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord (meninges).

The signs and symptoms of disseminated disease depend on which parts of your body are affected and may include:

  • Nodules, ulcers and skin lesions that are more serious than the rash that sometimes occurs with other forms of the disease
  • Painful lesions in the skull, spine or other bones
  • Painful, swollen joints, especially in the knees or ankles
  • Meningitis — an infection of the membranes and fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord and the most deadly complication of valley fever

When to see a doctor 
Valley fever, even when it's symptomatic, often clears on its own. Yet for older adults and others at high risk, recovery can be slow, and the risk of developing severe disease is high.

Seek medical care if you are in a high-risk group and develop the signs and symptoms of valley fever, especially if you:

  • Live in or have recently traveled to an area where this disease is common
  • Have symptoms that aren't improving

Be sure to tell your doctor if you've traveled to a place where valley fever is endemic and you have symptoms. More and more, people who spend a few days golfing or hiking in Arizona return home with valley fever but are never tested for the disease.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/valley-fever/DS00695/DSECTION=symptoms

Quoting turtle68:

what does the disease do to the body?  ...850% rise in a 13 year period is huge IMO...unless it was one person in 1998 and 9 in 2011 LOL





mishamama
by Member on May. 6, 2013 at 4:52 AM
A good friend of my mothers caught this, took him almost two years to fully recover. Poor guy.
mishamama
by Member on May. 6, 2013 at 4:52 AM
A good friend of my mothers caught this, took him almost two years to fully recover. Poor guy.
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