Valley Fever cases spiked statewide last year

Posted at 4:36 PM, Jul 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-22 00:08:32-04

There were more Valley Fever cases in California for 2016 compared to 2015, according to the California Department of Public Health.

The CDPH said Thursday that 5,372 new cases of Valley Fever appeared last year. That is about 13.7 cases reported per 100,000 people.

Valley Fever, otherwise known as coccidioidmycosis or cocci, is a fungal infection. In California, it predominantly affects counties in the Southern Central Valley and Central Coast. People become infected when they inhale spores in certain soils. 

"People who live in or travel to areas where Valley Fever is common should take steps to avoid breathing in dusty air," said Dr. Karen Smith, CDPH Director and State Health Officer.

Last year's statewide spike was the highest number of reported cases since 2011. More than 2,200 cases in 2016 were reported in Kern County, according to the CDPH. 

Valley Fever symptoms are very similar to those of the flu, such as cough, fever or difficulty breathing. The CDPH said if anybody experiences these symptoms for two weeks or longer, they should ask their doctor about Valley Fever. 

The CDPH said they do not know why so many cases were reported last year.