Valley Fever is a fungal infection that attacks the lungs and if left untreated can be fatal.
Elham Rahmati with UCSF Fresno says people in the Central Valley can definitely contract valley fever. However, more often than not it is not severe.
“In majority of cases they are self limiting,” says Rahmati. “Our immune system takes care of them.”
Rahmati says valley fever presents itself with flu like symptoms, like coughing, fevers, and headaches.
She says one way to tell if you might have it is if your flu like symptoms last longer than one month.
“In minority of cases they can travel from your lungs into the blood system and they can settle into bones and even your brain,” says Rahmati.
The Fresno County Department of Health is trying to get the word out about valley fever.
Leticia Berber is the Health Educator for Fresno County Department of Health. She says they are educating more people about this infection with the goal of catching this infection early on.
“We are seeing more cases compared to other years. Starting in 2013 those numbers weren’t in the thousands,” says Berber. “Now, they are seeing those numbers in the thousands.”
Berber says those who work outside are more prone to getting valley fever than those who work inside.
“This is very specific to people who are working outside and are working in the farm lands, that are doing construction work,” says Berber. “You don’t see it in people who work in the offices.”