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Young and Pregnant: Anna Magaña, 36, Wasco

 Anna Magaña, 36, poses with her daughter, Brianna. Magaña was pregnant with Brianna when she contracted valley fever.

I was 16 years old and four months pregnant when I contracted valley fever. It was 1991. I woke up with red welts on my legs and my heels felt like they were on fire. I thought something had bit me. I also had headaches. Doctors initially thought I had meningitis. Once I was diagnosed with valley fever, I had to receive Amphotericin B three to four times a week. That treatment led to convulsion-like seizures and I had to take Demorol to calm them down. I went through all this while being young and pregnant. I was told that the only other case of a pregnant woman who had valley fever was in Arizona and that the mother died after giving birth. I started freaking out.

My daughter Brianna was born June 21, 1992, three weeks early. They kept us both in the hospital to make sure my treatments hadn’t affected her, but, luckily, she had no effects from all the medication I was on. Being so young, I don’t think I realized the gravity of my condition; all I knew was that I was very sick. It was a very scary time for me and my family.

Reading those stories of other valley fever cases really touched me and brought back memories. I lived it, and I know what most of them experienced. Hopefully, one day we can find a vaccine to prevent it.

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