Is Climate Change Fueling a Deadly Disease in California and Other Parched States?
May 8, 2013 —If you haven’t heard of valley fever, you’re not alone. Although cases in states like California are rising, public awareness is low and misdiagnoses from doctors are sadly high. The AP reported an 850 percent spike in cases across the country from 1998 to 2011, with California and Arizona being the worst states.
“The fever has hit California’s agricultural heartland particularly hard in recent years, with incidence dramatically increasing in 2010 and 2011,” wrote the AP’s Gosia Wozniacka. “The disease — which is prevalent in arid regions of the United States, Mexico, Central and South America — can be contracted by simply breathing in fungus-laced spores from dust disturbed by wind as well as human or animal activity.”
Why have things gotten so bad? “The fungus is sensitive to environmental changes, experts say, and a hotter, drier climate has increased dust carrying the spores,” wrote Wozniacka.