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Experts don't believe dust storms increase Valley Fever cases

May 20, 2014

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

As always, high winds increase dust in the air and that makes some people wonder if those wind storms are creating more cases of Valley Fever.   

Valley Fever is a disease caused when we inhale a fungus that lives in the desert soil.

Almost all Valley Fever cases in this country are in the Southwest.

About 60% are in three Arizona counties: Pima, Pinal and Maricopa.

When the soil is stirred up by something, like construction, the fungus can go airborne.

That's how we can end up inhaling it.

However, researchers say dust and wind aren't all there is to Valley Fever, and just because we're having windy, dusty days doesn't mean we'll see a spike in cases.
"Individual dust storms generally don't seem to be a big factor in Valley Fever cases because we don't see big spikes in Valley Fever right afterwards, and because the kind of soil that gets stirred up in a dust storm tends to be the sort of loose top soil you get from river bottoms or from construction sites--not usually the kinds of places that Valley Fever's hanging out," says University of Arizona Climate and Health researcher, Dr. Andrew Comrie.

Read the full article on Tuscon News Now.