Valley Fever cases in Kern County are on the rise for the fourth consecutive year, according to a report released by Kern County Public Health.
Valley Fever data from 2017 shows that there were a total of 2,929 cases in Kern County and nine fatalities.
While anyone can get Valley Fever, Public Health did share some trends with who was diagnosed more in 2017. Men are more likely than women to get diagnosed. Black and Philippino are the races with the highest chances. People between the age of 45 and 65 are the most susceptible. Also, people who live in the western part of Kern County have higher chances.
Public Health says Valley Fever is caused by a fungus that grows between six and 12 inches underground. If that dirt is mixed up, the spores can then be inhaled, causing Valley Fever. This means people who work in construction or fields that involve being outdoors are more exposed to the spores.
Public Health says it's difficult to prevent getting Valley Fever but made a few suggestions 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
Public Health says