Valley fever, also called coccidioidomycosis (or "cocci" for short), is an infection caused by Coccidioides immitis, a fungus somewhat like yeast or mildew that lives in the soil of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. In California, "cocci" predominates in the San Joaquin Valley. In both 2010 and 2011 the number of reported cases of Valley Fever increased in San Joaquin County. The highest rates in San Joaquin County are found in Tracy.
Valley fever is a fungal respiratory disease that can be devastating. Learning about valley fever can help you and your doctor recognize the symptoms early. The disease can be difficult to diagnose, especially if you are unaware of it. The CDC has a special webpage, Ten Things to Know about Valley Fever, which includes more details on the following facts:
Valley fever is caused by a fungus that lives in the environment.
Valley fever is not contagious.
Symptoms of valley fever are usually similar to the flu, including fatigue (tiredness), cough, fever, shortness of breath, headache, night sweats, muscle aches or joint pain, rash on upper body or legs
Valley fever is common in the southwestern United States.
Reported cases have increased.
Anyone can get valley fever by breathing in the microscopic fungal spores from the air, although most people who breathe in the spores don't get sick.
Some people are at higher risk for developing the severe form of valley fever, including people who have weakened immune systems, pregnant women, people who have diabetes, people who are African-American or Filipino.
Some people will need antifungal treatment.
It can be difficult to avoid the fungus that causes valley fever.
Awareness is key.
For more information on the cause and symptoms and the steps that can be taken to decrease the risk of getting infected, click on the resources below:
West Nile Virus (WNV) infection can cause serious disease. WNV is a seasonal health risk in California and San Joaquin County that flares up with the warm weather in late spring or summer and continues into the fall.
Birds are carriers of West Nile Virus; a mosquito becomes infected by biting an infected bird. Infected mosquitos can spread the virus to humans, horses, and birds. The easiest and best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites.
For more information about West Nile Virus and ways to prevent it, visit the following websites:
Public Health Services (PHS) works to protect the public's health and promote a healthy future for all residents. The just released Annual Report for 2015 provides a snapshot of the work and services provided this past year. It reviews selected data and program information, highlights some successes and challenges, and mentions a few of the main issues to address during 2016.