Valley fever is picking up in southern Arizona
TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - Leaders at the University of Arizona are using a new tool to fight valley fever as it’s that time of the year the disease infects more people.
Every year about 150,000 people across this country are diagnosed with valley fever and more than two-thirds of the cases are here in Arizona. That’s according to the U of A Valley Fever Center.
Researchers are using what they call a forecasting tool to tell when cases of valley fever are starting to spike here at home.
The toll allows researchers with the Valley Fever Center in Tucson to get results from people who come in with symptoms. If they test positive, that data goes to the center to help them understand when Valley Fever is starting to spike.
Since the symptoms of the disease are very similar to pneumonia or COVID, doctors say it’s important to get the right diagnosis as early as possible.
“It turns out that asking your physician ‘hey should I be tested for this’ is really valuable because many physicians might not think to do that,” director of the valley fever center of excellence at the University of Arizona John Galgiani said. “And there is state department of healthy data that indicates that people who know about valley fever before they get sick get diagnosed correctly sooner than patients who don’t know about valley fever before they get sick. It’s because they ask their doctor if they should be tested.”
Summer and into fall is the time of year to be on the lookout for it, that’s because the disease thrives in places with low rainfall and hot summers.
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