COVID-19 or valley fever: The symptoms are similar

Published: May. 20, 2020 at 5:12 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - If you have COVID-19 symptoms here in Southern Arizona, you should also consider being tested for Valley Fever. That’s what an expert at the University of Arizona advises.

Dr. John Galgiani is the director of the Valley Fever Center for Excellence. He says the main symptoms for both illnesses are basically the same. They are both respiratory illnesses that can mean fever, cough, and shortness of breath. In fact, they are so similar he says you need a test to know which one you have.

Since we are starting the so-called “Valley Fever Season” where we see more cases, he believes it’s smart to get tested for both if you are showing symptoms.

“It’s actually difficult for doctors to tell them apart too,” said Dr. Galgiani. “That’s why the diagnosis depends on specific laboratory tests. If you don’t order the specific test, you’re not going to get the diagnosis whether it’s COVID-19 or Valley Fever.”

It’s important to note, while he says the symptoms overlap they are two very different illnesses. COVID-19 is a virus and can be spread from person to person; whereas, Valley Fever is a fungus and isn’t contagious.

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