Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) is a progressive respiratory disease caused by inhaling airborne fungi.
This fungal spore grows in the arid climate of the southwest United States. In California this includes the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys, Central Coast, desert regions, and portions of southern California.
In 2016, Kern County had 2,310 confirmed cases of Valley Fever and 6 deaths, according to the Kern County Public Health Services Department.
“The number of Valley Fever cases is growing and there is no cure, which is why making more people aware of the symptoms of this disease is so important,” said Fuller.
Valley Fever symptoms can be similar to the flu and, if left untreated or mistreated, the infection can enter the bloodstream, cause permanent damage to lung and bone tissue, and swell the membrane surrounding the brain.
I was proud to introduce residents of the 16th Senate District who have survived, or had family members diagnosed with, Valley Fever. They are all active members of Bakersfield’s Valley Fever Americas Foundation which has for over 20 years raised funds for vaccine research.
These individuals represent just a few of the many people, including myself, that have seen the pain and witnessed the struggle that Valley Fever patients experience. It is my hope that a cure is discovered and these stories become a thing of the past.
(From left to right: Senator Galgiani, Rob Purdie, Paul Soliz, Senator Fuller, and Senator Vidak)
For more information on Valley Fever please visit the webpage below. This website provides helpful links and informative information about how to recognize the symptoms and limit exposure to this devastating disease.
(Excerpts from the VFAF Facebook ’About’ section)
The Valley Fever Americas Foundation (VFAF) was formed in 1995/96 to help raise funds for vaccine research.
In the past 20 years we have worked as part of the Valley Fever Vaccine Project, a consortium of public and private interests, which has succeeded in establishing a huge body of information previously unavailable. Several vaccine candidates have been ruled out, and others are still being tested.
During those 20 years, our foundation funded a number of smaller projects as needed to keep things moving, and we continue to do so. We have provided $587,000 to support a wide range of projects from genome research to purchase of equipment.
VFAF does not maintain an office, and is dependent on volunteers who work from their homes. This means “overhead” is nearly non-existent, and almost 100% of donated funds can go directly to research and development. Our Facebook page is intended to help the public become more aware of the work being done to find a vaccine or a cure, and also to become more aware of the dangers of the disease. Until such time as a vaccine or a cure becomes available, our only “protection” is early diagnosis and treatment. We know that our information has helped save a life or two in the past, and we hope the same for the future. Your “like” helps us meet this goal.
You can learn more about what the Valley fever Americas Foundation is doing by visiting their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/ValleyFeverAmericasFoundation/
Team Fuller joined Valley Fever survivors for the 6th Annual Valley Fever Walk to raise awareness of this devastating disease. Below are a few of the photos from the event held in Bakersfield that will save lives through better awareness and a quicker diagnosis.