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Suffering, Misdiagnosis and Pain: Community members share their valley fever stories

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Suffering, Misdiagnosis and Pain: Community members share their valley fever stories

Picture of Jennifer Harris
Suffering, Misdiagnosis and Pain: Community members share their valley fever stories
Thursday, December 20, 2012

                                                                   

The Reporting on Health Collaborative asked readers to share their experiences with valley fever. Here are their stories, in their own words, as told to the Collaborative's Community Engagement Editor, Kellie Schmitt. Their accounts capture the pain and anguish suffered by local families as doctors struggled to find the right treatment and jobs and lives were lost to the disease. Misdiagnosis was a frequent problem, allowing time for the disease to "tunnel" its way into lungs and other organs, as one survivor put it. And, even when the correct treatment was administered, patients often suffered terrible side effects. These first-person stories are a poignant reminder of the need for better treatment protocols and improved diagnosis. They also highlight the costs to families, employers and the government of underinvestment in research to develop a vaccine. 

Do you have a valley fever story to share? Write to valleyfever@reportingonhealth.org or call (661)748-3142 to leave us a voice message.

In this season of sharing, here is some information on non-profit organizations working to shed light on this overlooked disease:

  • The Valley Fever Center for Excellence, based at the University of Arizona, serves the public through research, education and the treatment of this disease. The organization also provides resources and referrals for patients and medical providers at no charge. For more information, visit www.vfce.arizona.edu. You may also leave a message at (520)626-6517 or e-mail vfever@email.arizona.edu.
  • The Valley Fever Americas Foundation, based in Bakersfield, supports valley fever vaccine research, as well as disease outreach and awareness efforts. For more information, visit www.valleyfever.com or contact Jessica Einstein, (661)706-8635.