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Valley fever fears rise after dust storm

July 5, 2014

PHOENIX -- Now that the dust has settled, it's stirring up new health concerns.

Hundreds of people gathering for a family-friendly fireworks show on July 3 in Ahwatukee may have exposed themselves to more than a little holiday fun when a massive dust storm rolled through.

After being caught out in the storm and breathing in all that dust, a lot of people are now worrying about valley fever.

"It's a fungus that's in the dirt, the soil, the air, so it's, in essence, around us all the time," said Dr. Rick Swearingen, the medical director at Dignity Health's Ahwatukee Urgent Care. "But certainly see clusterings of it this time of the year when we have the monsoons."