Valley Fever has been in the media a lot lately. Part of the reason is because last Saturday we kicked off the 8th annual Valley Fever Awareness Week in recognition of the outstanding treatment and research conducted by the Valley Fever Center for Excellence as well as the advances in Valley Fever education and public health done here at ADHS. Some recent public health advances by ADHS include the publication of enhanced surveillance of coccidioidomycosis (the scientific name for valley fever) in Arizona, which highlights the effects that valley fever has on Arizonans, healthcare costs, and the economy. This investigation found that persons with valley fever had symptoms for a median of 4 months and missed a median of 2 weeks from work. Hospital charges totaled $86M among Arizona patients who had primary or secondary diagnoses of valley fever in 2007. Persons with valley fever who were aware of the disease were more likely to get an earlier diagnosis of the disease and more likely to ask their doctors to test them for valley fever. These findings warrant the importance of public and provider education of valley fever.
With that being said, in light of Valley Fever Awareness Week, there was a “Learn about Valley Fever – Ask the Doctors your Questions” public forum in Tucson, Saturday, Nov. 6, and a fundraising Walk for Valley Fever in Phoenix, Sunday, Nov. 7, where I attended and spoke. Last year, we had over 200 people and 70 dogs registered for the Walk. Let’s keep supporting education, research and treatment for valley fever! Physicians can obtain free continuing medical education online or in Scottsdale, Saturday, Nov. 13: “Coccidioidomycosis for the Primary Care Physician” and “Advanced Clinical Aspects of Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever)”. For more information, please visit http://www.valleyfeverarizona.org.