Facts about Valley Fever

Coccidioidomycosis, pronounced as “käk-si-dē-ȯi-dō-mī-kō-səs” is a mouthful, try saying that three times! Did you know that Valley Fever (VF) affects people living in or traveling to southwestern states like Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, or Utah or areas of Mexico or Central/South America. Although, VF affects folks of all ages, it seems to be more common in persons over the age of 60. (https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/coccidioidomycosis/risk-prevention.html)
According to Dr John Galgiani, the internal valley fever expert from the University of Arizona’s Valley Fever Center for Excellence (UA’s VFCE) shared that “two-thirds of all infections in the United States occur in Arizona, mostly in the urban areas surrounding Phoenix and Tucson.” These fungal spores live in our soil and can easily become dislodged and airborne where they are taken into or breathed into our lungs, the major organs of our respiratory system. Soil disturbances can be caused by construction, soil drilling, wind and other soil disturbances. Valley fever spreads by individuals inhaling these dislodged spores into than lungs rather than spreading by person-to-person contact. (https://vfce.arizona.edu/)
 
In Arizona during 2019, a total of 10,359 new valley fever cases were recorded. Based on UA’s VFCE’s 2020 report, “it’s estimated that one in 100 persons become ill from Valley fever each year in Arizona.” (https://vfce.arizona.edu/)
 
Valley fever has two stages. Stage 1 or Valley fever also known as acute coccidioidomycosis and Stage 2, known as chronic coccidioidomycosis which is a complication typically seen in persons with weakened immune systems. There is also the uncommon but serious form known as disseminated coccidioidomycosis which affects the lungs and body.
 
What are some common early signs and symptoms of Valley fever (Stage 1)?According to the Centers for Disease Control, people should expect to experience: fever, cough, tiredness, shortness of breath, headache, night sweats or muscle aches or joint pain. At times, these symptoms have been confused with having a cold or suffering through a bout of flu. It’s recommended that anyone, especially seniors with compromised immune systems, pregnant females or those individuals experiencing unrelenting flu-like symptoms lasting more than 5-7 days seek medical healthcare. This is necessary to identify whether you have been exposed to Valley fever, Influenza (flu) or Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) since their diagnoses and treatments are different. (https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/coccidioidomycosis/risk-prevention.html)
 
Folks with robust or healthy immune responses may be asymptomatic. These folks aren’t showing or feeling any symptoms of illness and they have not become ill. These persons typically recover without medical care.
 
ESV Scriptures: Philippians 4: 19; Jeremiah 17:14 & 30:17 and Psalm 41:3.
 
Prayer: Dear Abba Father, we pray for healing of lungs ravished by diseases whether it’s COVID-19, Influenza or Valley fever. Return life and living to those crying out from their beds of affliction. We ask for your miraculous touch for we know that all things filter through You! We trust you Lord to look upon those in need of recovery in the precious name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.