Did you know Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) is one of the most commonly reported infectious diseases in Arizona? While most people infected with Valley Fever experience mild or no symptoms at all, some suffer from more severe symptoms including pneumonia or the spread of the fungus to other parts of the body, including the brain. Although recent findings from the 2013 Annual Valley Fever Report, show a large decrease in reported cases of Valley Fever in Arizona during the past year, reports of Valley Fever have increased steadily over the past decade. The number of hospitalizations due to Valley Fever has also dropped.
Epidemiologists (disease detectives) at the Arizona Department of Health Services work with local health departments and the Valley Fever Center for Excellence at the University of Arizona to monitor the disease and provide public education. As part of these efforts to raise awareness about the seriousness of the disease, Gov. Jan Brewer has proclaimed November 8th-16th as Valley Fever Awareness Week. Public lectures, courses for medical providers, and public service announcements at select movie theaters are just some of the activities that will take place this week across the state. The take home message is that if you are having symptoms of cough, fever, or feeling exhausted, go ask your doctor to test you for Valley Fever.