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Valley fever

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California’s tally of valley fever cases dropped by more than 1,000 last year and some counties have also seen fewer cases in the early months of 2013. But public health officials say it’s too early to identify long-term trends in the numbers.

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California's Attorney General has questioned the feasibility of the federal order to move more than 3,000 inmates especially vulnerable to valley fever from two Central Valley prisons.

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As we have seen with air pollution, tobacco use, and other public health concerns, when California starts setting policy on a topic, it can have a powerful effect nationally.

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State and experts are now digesting the directive for California's Department of Corrections to remove inmates from two Central Valley prisons, who are especially at risk of contracting valley fever.

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Still, moving thousands of prisoners is a massive endeavor complicated by factors such as inmates’ security levels, and medical, mental health and rehabilitation needs.

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Over the last seven years, 40 California state prisoners have died with valley fever as either the primary or the secondary cause of death. For this reason, the prison system has been ordered to transfer at risk inmates from two facilities in endemic areas.

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The Reporting on Health Collaborative heard earlier this week that Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, was going to meet with the head of the Centers for Disease Control and then issue a statement. Is that itself worth a story?

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The CDC's research on valley fever's impact in California and Arizona was both an unexpected validation of the Reporting on Health Collaborative's work and an encouragement to do more of the same.

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A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, issued last week, shows that the incidence of valley fever cases is up an astounding 850 percent over the past decade-plus.

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The number of valley fever cases has soared so high in recent years that health experts are calling it "The Second Epidemic."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now confirms a sharp rise in cases of the fungal disease, especially in California and Arizona.

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