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Valley fever

Picture of Kerry Klein
Although still unknown outside of the American west, valley fever is a severe fungal infection — and its territory may expand as the climate warms.
Picture of Kerry Klein
In his final 2018-2019 budget former California Gov. Jerry Brown allocated $8 million in state funding toward combating valley fever, split evenly between the University of California system and the new Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical in Bakersfield. Here’s how that money’s been spent.
Picture of Kerry Klein
UCLA's Dr. Manish Butte still remembers the day almost two years ago when he met a young boy who could barely walk or talk and needed a feeding tube to eat. He was suffering from a life-threatening case of valley fever.
Picture of Kerry Klein
Research suggests an alarming link between a common drug used for valley fever and birth defects. The disease also tends to be more severe in pregnant women.
Picture of Kellie  Schmitt
Recently signed legislation capped a big year for efforts to combat a regional disease long overlooked by lawmakers.
Picture of Kerry Klein
The antifungal drugs used to treat valley fever can cause hair loss. With the number of valley fever cases on the rise, a wig shop in Bakersfield, Calif., is helping women feel better about themselves.
Picture of Kerry Klein
The budget includes $8 million for research and outreach into the disease, caused by inhaling spores that grow in arid soil.
Picture of Harold Pierce
Facing pushback from the medical community, California Assemblyman Vince Fong withdrew a bill late last month that would have required doctors to order specific types of lab tests when they suspect valley fever.
Picture of Harold Pierce
Bakersfield Assemblymen Vince Fong and Rudy Salas submitted a $7 million budget proposal that, if approved, would be the largest amount of money California has ever designated to research and raise awareness of the disease.
Picture of Harold Pierce
Just 48 people have signed up across California and Arizona for a new clinical trial of Fluconazole, an antifungal drug used to treat valley fever. That's far fewer than officials had expected.

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