Valley Fever

Continuing with “The Last of Us” theme for this Super Bowl Sunday. As mentioned yesterday, the show has a scenario of humans turning into zombies after being infected by a fungi infection.

One such infection is called Valley fever. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (taken from USA Today article),

“Valley fever is an infection caused by coccidioides, a fungus that generally prefers warm, arid climates and predominately lives in soil in the southwestern United States,” 

Back in 2019, there were 20,000 cases of Valley fever, with symptoms including; fatigue; cough; fever; and, shortness of breath. You can catch it by inhaling fungal spores that are kicked up, in the air. It is usually not serious but if the spores go to the brain or the spinal cord you have a 40% chance of dying. It can be treated with anti-biotics. The image above is a lung with these spores

Curtently, those living in 12 states, mainly in the south west, are vulnerable to Valley fever. The concern is that with climate change, the number of states could go up to 25, in the near future

One thing I found out is that you don’t have to live in those states. When I had a condo in Mesa, I would usually be down for a couple of months, in the fall, and a couple of months, after the New Year. One year I came back, in the Spring and had a persistent cough and fatigue. Nothing too serious beut it was worrisome. Saw the doctor and he diagnosed it as Valley fever, right away. There were no zombie like symptoms. The anti-biotics took a while to work, but it was near three months before the Valley fever abated.

Enjoy the Super Bowl everybody.

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