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SCVNews.com | Wilk Authors Resolution to Boost Awareness of Valley Fever | 08-02-2017
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California Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita Valley-Antelope Valley, has authored a measure declaring August as Valley Fever Month.

Wilk, along with Senators Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) and Andy Vidak (R-Hanford), introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 72 as a way to raise awareness of Valley Fever.

“Cases of Valley Fever have spiked dramatically in the past year, particularly in Los Angeles County where reported cases are up 31 [ercent,” Wilk said.

“Traditionally the Antelope Valley leads the county in incidences of people afflicted with the sickness, so the county wide increase hits close to home,” he said. “It is really important that people are aware of the disease, know its symptoms and seek medical help immediately if they suspect they may have Valley Fever.”

Valley Fever is caused by the inhalation of tiny airborne fungi. The disease attacks the respiratory system and is often mistaken for the flu. If left untreated or mistreated, the infection can spread from the lungs to the bloodstream causing permanent damage to lung and bone tissue, and in some cases meningitis.

Misdiagnosis of Valley Fever is so pervasive that experts say some people suffer and even die from it without knowing they ever had the disease. While the disease has no known cure, early detection and treatment can lessen its severity.

On August 12 there will be a Valley Fever Walk at Apollo Park in Lancaster to draw attention to the sickness.

For more information or to help with the walk, contact Susan Zahnter, at fugitivedustvalleyfever@gmail.com.

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2 Comments

  1. Abigail says:

    So let’s keep building and disturbing the Earth to get this all into the air to make even more of us sick. Hey, throw in a giant landfill expansion too. Then get more people to move into the area to have even more people exposed. Great job Wilks. You have been in support of all of it.

  2. jim says:

    Well, Wilk does have a point. Disturbing the topsoil in this valley and all of them north, northeast (and south) of here (to and including Bakersfield) can put the fungal spores of Coccidioides into the atmosphere so they can be breathed into the lungs. Such a nice, moist environment is perfect for causing a fungal infection. The 1994 earthquake caused enough disturbance of soils, dirt, and other surface materials in northern LA County that infections spiked dramatically.

    But, if you are native to this area (meaning you grew up playing in the local dirt) your chances of a serious infection are greatly reduced. Your body has probably been exposed in a minor way that will still prepare your immune system to protect you from the most serious effects. Unless your immune system is damaged or affected by treatments for cancer or other serious diseases.

    Coccidiomycosis (Valley Fever) is still a dangerous disease, one that is not to be taken lightly. I personally have known two people who were infected, one of them in his 60’s who was infected in 1994 and eventually died of the disease after several years. The other, then in his 30’s, still has a lung cyst from a similar infection but has had no further problems since he is now in his 60’s.

    Paranoia is not the answer; careful and clear explanations of how to avoid contact and if the worst occurs, how to treat the infection are the answer. SCR 72 if implemented correctly can certainly help.

    But which of you actually knew or were informed about this when you moved to, or were moved here by your parents, or grew up in the SCV/AV knowing anything about it?

    That’s what I thought. Almost none of us were informed, much less warned about it because outside of the medical field and those who were seriously ill from it, it was never mentioned.

    Ignorance may be bliss for many, but statistics say that ignorance is a sucker bet.

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