BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — A local organization is bringing awareness and educating the community on Valley Fever and the many resources available to those who are in need, or who would like to learn more.
On Friday Valley Fever Awareness and Resources will be hosting their 2nd Annual Valley Fever Symposium where all are invited to learn about the disease that affects many in Kern County.
Valley Fever is a disease that is caused when one breathes in fungal spores that can be found in undisturbed soil, which can affect humans, animals, and can be fatal.
Right now in Kern County, there are nearly 3,000 residents that have been diagnosed with Valley Fever.
This is the 4th year the county has seen an increase.
"Here in Kern County, we are ground zero this is an epidemic for Valley Fever it's really important to have these events," said Julie Solis, Executive Director for Valley Fever Awareness and Resources. "Folks need to know that there are resources available and fellowship within the community and a chance to get educated."
Valley Fever Awareness and Resources are providing a free Valley Fever informational event at Bakersfield College from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m on Friday to further bring attention to the disease through activities.
"Anyone that has been impacted or affected by Valley Fever should come out and fellowship and spend time with other survivors," Solis said. "We will have some great speakers coming out."
There is currently not a cure for the disease but medications with very severe side effects. This is something that Valley Fever Americas Foundation is looking to change with its $100,000 donation to Valley Fever Solutions to test for a new treatment.
"The money in part is going to be used to retest of a test that was done many years ago to show if NikkomycinZ actually could get rid of the Valley Fever organism in the body of mice," said Sandra Larson, with the Valley Fever American Foundation. "We are hoping to prove with the new formulation of NikomycinZ and with mice that are severely infected with valley fever that we can prove that again."
Larson says that they hope that this research will provide a cure and create a vaccine.
Also, they want the community to look out for Valley Fever symptoms.
"The most common symptoms are cough, fever, headache, chills, night sweats, pneumonia, rash, and bronchitis," Solis said. Also, she adds that September through November is considered Valley Fever season.
For more information on the Valley Fever Awareness event be sure to follow this link.