The story addresses the mysterious spike in cases of Valley Fever in California and Arizona. Valley Fever is a disease that is contracted through the lungs, when fungal spores that live in California and Arizona soil are disturbed and the fungus enters the air.
As of now, there is no cure or vaccine for Valley Fever and there is very little information known about the disease altogether.
According to the story, the number of Valley Fever cases has increased so much in recent years that it is now referred to by some health officials as an epidemic.
Because the disease is not as well known or “high profile,” there is a struggle to get funding for research. The funding allocated to Valley Fever amounts to only 4 percent of what is directed to West Nile Virus, which only affects a fourth of the number of people that Valley Fever does.
The story is part of a series on Valley Fever that is the first project from the Reporting on Health Collaborative. The Reporting on Health Collaborative is a venture that has been undertaken by USC Annenberg’s California Endowment Health Journalism Fellows. The fellows and their media outlets team with ReportingonHealth.org