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Photo Credit: Casey Christie / The Californian

Weakened valley fever bill heads to governor's desk

The California legislature approved a bill Wednesday that would require the state public health department to develop public outreach programs for valley fever, an insidious respiratory disease endemic to Kern County. It next heads to the governor.
Assemblyman Rudy Salas. Photo credit: Casey Christie / The Californian

State senators vote this week on valley fever bill

State senators will vote this week on a bill that would enhance valley fever reporting guidelines and mandate public outreach. The aim: to raise public awareness of valley fever, an insidious respiratory disease endemic to the southwestern United States.
Henry Barrios/The Californian

Three ways valley fever could be elevated as a public health priority

Experts in social behavior and public health weigh in on raising the public's valley fever awareness: create a simple, memorable message, turn that message into a social movement, and reach out regularly to find out if awareness has increased.
1: Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, leads a Congressional Valley Fever Task Force, which includes Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ar

States skimp on valley fever awareness

Valley fever infects more than 13,000 people a year in Arizona and California and kills more than 100. Yet they spend less annually on public awareness than one school district's monthly lunch milk budget and a parks and recreation department's yearly janitorial supplies.
Matt Constantine, director of Public Health for Kern County, introduces a campaign to bring awareness to valley fever and releas

Valley fever infections surge in California’s Central Valley

Valley fever killed six Kern County residents in 2016 and infected 1,905 others, a 62 percent surge over the number infected the year prior. Officials are launching a new billboard campaign to raise awareness of the risks.

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About This Series

This project results from an innovative reporting venture – the Center for Health Journalism Collaborative – which currently involves the Bakersfield Californian, Radio Bilingüe in Fresno, Valley Public Radio in Fresno and Bakersfield, Vida en el Valle in Fresno, Hanford Sentinel, the Voice of OC in Santa Ana, the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, La Estrella de Tucsón and the Center for Health Journalism. The collaborative is an initiative of the Center for Health Journalism at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.