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A deadly fever spreads

A deadly fever spreads
5 (100%) 2 votes

A devastating disease caused by airborne fungal spores is colonizing the Southwest in what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls “a silent epidemic.” The disease, coccidioidomycosis, or valley fever, strikes more than 20,000 people per year in the region, 10 times the number it did 15 years ago. The spores live in the soil until wind lifts them into the air, where they’re inhaled into the lungs. From there, they can spread to the bones, skin, eyes, or brain— sometimes causing severe neurological damage and even death. Most people who become infected, however, show no signs of the disease; it is unclear why it harms some people more than others, though genetic factors may play a role. Researchers are also struggling to understand why the number of valley fever cases has skyrocketed in recent years. Many blame the increased heat and drought in the Southwest for adding more dust to the air. “All you have to do is take a breath at the wrong time,” infectious disease specialist Royce Johnson tells PBS.org. “It destroys lives.”

 

 

Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever) | Pediatric Grand Grounds - Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA

Paul Krogstad, MD, reviews Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever), which is a disease endemic to the Southwestern United States.

Premiere Date: 9/4/2015; 51 minutes, 42 seconds

Learn more about Dr. Paul Krogstad at https://uclahealth.org/PaulKrogstad