All it takes is one breath. An estimated 150,000 people are infected each year in the U.S. by the fungus that causes valley fever (coccidioidomycosis). The fungus is mostly found in the Southwest with nearly two-thirds of all nationally reported cases residing in Arizona.
Arizonans in every county are affected by valley fever year-round. Our newly released annual report shows that in 2016, there were 6,101 reported cases, 705 hospitalizations with charges totaling $55 million, and 57 deaths attributable to valley fever.
Although many people become infected, challenges still exist for being diagnosed. Patients who knew about valley fever before seeking healthcare were more likely to be diagnosed earlier than those who didn’t know about the disease. That is why it’s important to know the symptoms (cough, fever, exhaustion) and ask your doctor to test you if you think you have valley fever.
For more information, subscribe to our yearly Valley Fever Bulletin. Visit azhealth.gov/email, enter your email address, select “Valley Fever” located under “Infectious Diseases”, and click submit.