(Sacramento) Today, at the request of Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield), a $3 million budget allocation will be considered as part of the Senate’s budget proposal. In addition to Senator Fuller’s presentation, the Senate’s Health and Human Services Budget Subcommittee heard testimony from Kern Medical CEO, Russell Judd.
Senator Fuller’s request, if approved by the legislature and signed by the governor, would secure funding in the 2018-19 state budget and substantially expand research and treatment facilities at the Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical Center.
“Valley Fever is a devastating disease that can be difficult to diagnose and is even more difficult to treat, which is why I believe this funding is so important to expand Valley Fever research and outreach,” said Senator Fuller.
Valley Fever, or Coccidioidomycosis, is a fungus found in the soil of dry, low rainfall areas. Valley Fever is caused by air or soil disturbance of tiny fungi, which live and breed within the soil. When the dust containing the spores is breathed in, the fungus attacks the respiratory system, causing infection that can lead to symptoms that resemble a cold, influenza, or pneumonia.
According to recent preliminary data from Kern County Public Health, Valley Fever infected 2,929 people and killed 9 in Kern County in 2017, and represents the 4th consecutive yearly increase in reported cases.
“Kern Medical is a leader in Valley Fever treatment, and our expertise has led to numerous innovations and research projects that are changing how we diagnose and treat this disease. This funding will help us provide treatments that are unavailable anywhere else and will provide important resources that will help expand research and ultimately a cure,” said Russell Judd, CEO, Kern Medical.
The Senate Budget Committee is expected to vote on the Senate Budget proposal, including the Valley Fever funding, as early as next week.
The February 8th budget request letter can be found here: