Fighting Valley Fever

Fighting Valley Fever

Help Fight Valley Fever

Valley fever, also known as coccidioidomycosis, is a respiratory infection caused by a fungus that lives in the soil. Valley fever is caused by breathing tiny fungal spores found in the soil in dry, dusty areas throughout California and the Southwest.  It spreads through the air when soil is disturbed and can be carried for hundreds of miles.  The most severe cases affect the bones, skin, eyes, and even the brain.  In some cases it can be fatal. Since the symptoms of Valley fever are similar to that of the common cold, Valley fever is a tragically underdiagnosed disease. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 150,000 cases of Valley fever go unreported in the U.S. each year.

In addition to unreported cases, the number of reported cases of Valley fever is also on the rise. In 2016, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reported 5,372 confirmed cases of Valley fever in California, which was the highest total number of recorded cases since the state began reporting in 1995.  The total number of confirmed cases for 2017 has not yet been released, but the provisional numbers recently released by CDPH indicate that the total this year could be even higher.  For 2017, CDPH reported 7,471 provisional cases.. Furthermore, the total number of cases over the last four years has drastically increased each year, and has more than doubled over the same time period.

To fight this growing epidemic, Assemblymember Salas has introduced a bi-partisan bill package that addresses multiple aspects of Valley fever. Assembly Bills (AB) 1787, 1788, 1789 and 1790 are a strategic and targeted approach to tackle the disease from various angles, including doctor training, strengthening worker protections and streamlining the reporting and confirming of Valley fever cases.

AB 1787:  Standardized Reporting

This bill would set an annual reporting and collection deadline for all cases of Valley fever, while improving communication and coordination between local health departments and CDPH. 

AB 1788: Laboratory Testing Diagnosis

This bill authorizes CDPH to confirm cases of Valley fever through laboratory testing alone, without the need for costly clinical criteria.  Currently, the state requires both the laboratory component and clinical criteria for diagnosis.

AB 1789: Worker Safety

This bill will strengthen protections for workers by requiring the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to adopt occupational safety and health standards for all state public works projects to prevent and control Valley fever.  Workers are particularly at risk due to the nature of new construction projects that require the disruption of soil.

AB 1790: Physician Training

This bill establishes enhanced physician training in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Valley fever to increase accurate diagnoses, reduce delays, and improve treatment for patients suffering from infection.

Valley Fever Resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CA Department of Public Health

Kern County Public Health Services Department
1800 Mt. Vernon Avenue
Bakersfield, CA  93306
(661) 321-3000

Kings County Department of Public Health
330 Campus Drive
Hanford, CA  93230
(559) 584-1401

Valley Fever in the News:

Salas introduces 'most robust' valley fever legislation in state's history

Apparently undaunted by Gov. Jerry Brown's October veto of legislation that would've brought new disease reporting guidelines and funding to the little-known respiratory disease known as valley fever, Assemblyman Rudy Salas has introduced an even more robust legislative package aimed at tackling the disease as cases rise to record highs in California.
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Assemblymen ask state for $7 million in fight against valley fever to fuel research, spread awareness

Bakersfield Assemblymen Vince Fong and Rudy Salas submitted a bipartisan $7 million budget proposal Monday to combatting valley fever, an insidious respiratory disease endemic to Kern County.
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Rudy Salas introduces Valley fever package of legislation

California Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) has set his sights on combating valley fever with the introduction of a package of bills. Assembly Bills (AB) 1787, 1788, 1789 and 1790 target the disease through doctor training, workers’ protection and streamlining the reporting and confirming of valley fever cases.
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New California Bills Address Growing Valley Fever Problem

On top of the high number of flu cases in California this year, the San Joaquin Valley is also seeing a climb in Valley Fever cases.
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Assemblymen ask state for $7 million in fight against valley fever

Bakersfield Assemblymen Vince Fong and Rudy Salas submitted a bipartisan $7 million budget proposal Monday that would, if approved, help combat valley fever, an insidious respiratory disease endemic to the Central Valley.
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Assemblymember Salas introduces legislation aimed at attacking valley fever in different ways

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Assemblymember Rudy Salas introduced a package of legislation targeting valley fever from various angles including doctor training, worker protections and changing the process in which valley fever cases are reported and confirmed.
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Assemblyman Rudy Salas continues his fight against valley fever

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Assemblyman Rudy Salas spoke with Eyewitness News reporter Lexi Wilson on Saturday about his new valley fever legislation.
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