Fever in the valley

Beware of dust-borne disease this summer

August is Valley Fever Awareness Month, and the California Department of Public Health is warning of the dangers of the disease, an infection that is caused by dust containing a fungus spore found in some soils in the Southwestern U.S.

“It is important for people living in Valley Fever areas to take steps to avoid breathing in dusty air, such as staying indoors when it is windy,” said CDPH Director and State Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. In California, those areas are mostly in the southern part of the Central Valley, from Merced to Kern County.

Valley Fever can cause flu-like symptoms that can last up to a month (or more). In extreme cases, the disease can lead to more serious infections of the lungs, bones or organs.