Kern County Public Health released new data for Valley Fever cases in Kern County for 2016.
During a press conference on April 12, 2017, Public Health reported the number of confirmed cases as 1,905. In an ongoing effort to keep the community informed of the rise in Valley Fever cases, Public Health has now confirmed 2,310 human cases of Valley Fever in Kern County residents during 2016, including 6 fatalities.
“The increase in Valley Fever cases over the last three years is a concern and is a strong reminder that we need to remain aware and diligent in reducing exposure and increase testing throughout our community” says Matt Constantine, Director of Kern County Public Health Services. “Valley Fever is endemic to Kern County and we all need to be aware of the symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider if you think you might have Valley Fever.”
Coccidioidomycosis, also known as Valley Fever, is an illness caused by a fungus that lives in the soil and dirt. People and animals can get sick by breathing in spores of the fungus. The spores are small and not visible to the naked eye.
About 60% of infected people will not get sick. People who do get sick can have fever, cough, chest pain, muscle or joint aches, tiredness, headaches, weight loss and rash. In severe infections, the fungus can infect the brain, joints, bone, skin, or other organs. In rare cases, infection can lead to death. Most people who get Valley Fever fully recover and do not get this disease again; however those with severe infections may need medication for several months. Valley Fever cannot be spread from one person to another or from animals to people.
Valley Fever can be difficult to prevent but recommendations that may help.
When it is windy outside and the air is dusty, especially during dust storms:
- Stay inside and keep windows and doors closed
- While driving, keep car windows shut and use "recirculating" air conditioning if available.
When working or playing in areas with open dirt:
- Wet soil before disturbing it to reduce dust
- Wear an N95 mask or respirator
For more information call 661-321-3000 or visit www.kerncountyvalleyfever.com.