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Local Valley fever research to be published in scientific journal

July 17, 2014

Researchers at UC Merced and UCSF-Fresno recently completed a literature review on Valley Fever, scheduled to be published later this month in the scientific journal “Microbes and Infection.”

“Valley Fever: Danger Lurking in a Dust Cloud” is a 34-page article that gathers everything known about the illness and the impact it has on communities.

According to one of the authors, Erin Gaab, a postdoctoral researcher in health psychology at UC Merced, the purpose of the article is to provide other researchers with a general, more up-to-date overview of Valley fever.

Also known as the “silent epidemic,” Valley fever is an illness caused by coccidioides, a fungal parasite found in soil. According to the review, the fungus is common in dry, low rainfall regions such as the southwestern U.S., Central America and South America. In California, the illness has been found in many areas of the San Joaquin Valley.

Valley fever occurs when microscopic fungal spores are inhaled. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that researchers estimate more than 150,000 people a year are affected by Valley fever, although most cases go undiagnosed.

Read more in the Merced Sun-Star.