Expert: Phoenix seeing spike in valley fever cases

Valley fever is an infection caused by a fungus that lives in the dirt.
Published: Jul. 31, 2023 at 4:12 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Arizona is the perfect environment for valley fever spores to thrive. Right now, researchers say cases in Phoenix are spiking.

Dr. John Galgiani is the director of the University of Arizona’s Valley Fever Center for Excellence. He said they are analyzing data from Banner Health Urgent Cares across the state and found that 20% of patients with pneumonia also have valley fever. “I think it is very important we know it is very common in the community right now,” said Dr. Galgiani.

Valley fever is an infection caused by a fungus that lives in the dirt. When it is wet, the spores bloom. When things dry out, the spores go into the air, and people can inhale them and become infected.

“These spores are very small, they get into the air and can stay in the air for long periods of time and travel many miles,” said Dr. Galgiani.

Galgiani said if you have symptoms similar to pneumonia, like fever, cough or shortness of breath, get tested for valley fever. “One out of every 100 people every year develop an illness due to valley fever, and many go unrecognized because doctors don’t order tests,” said Galgiani.

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