Updated 2016 Valley Fever Data for Kern County
June 7th, 2017 | by: Michelle Corson | Category: Press Releases

1800 Mt. Vernon Avenue
Bakersfield, CA 93306-3302

661-321-3000

Matthew Constantine
Director

kernpublichealth.com

June 7, 2017

Contact:
Michelle Corson
Public Relations Officer

corsonm@co.kern.ca.us

MEDIA ADVISORY

Updated 2016 Valley Fever Data for Kern County
Contact: Michelle Corson, Public Relations Officer, 661-868-0288

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

June 6, 2017

Bakersfield, CA – Kern County Public Health announces updated 2016 Valley Fever data for Kern County. During a press conference on April 12, 2017, Public Health released preliminary data for 2016, reporting the number of confirmed cases as 1,905. In an ongoing effort to keep the community informed of the rise in Valley Fever cases, Public Health has now confirmed 2,310 human cases of Valley Fever in Kern County residents during 2016, including 6 fatalities. Our department provides county level data to California Department of Public Health, who then further modifies and releases statewide data annually.
“The increase in Valley Fever cases over the last three years is a concern and is a strong reminder that we need to remain aware and diligent in reducing exposure and increase testing throughout our community” says Matt Constantine, Director of Kern County Public Health Services. “Valley Fever is endemic to Kern County and we all need to be aware of the symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider if you think you might have Valley Fever.”
Coccidioidomycosis, also known as Valley Fever, is an illness caused by a fungus that lives in the soil and dirt. People and animals can get sick by breathing in spores of the fungus. The spores are small and not visible to the naked eye. About 60% of infected people will not get sick. People who do get sick can have fever, cough, chest pain, muscle or joint aches, tiredness, headaches, weight loss and rash. In severe infections, the fungus can infect the brain, joints, bone, skin, or other organs. In rare cases, infection can lead to death. Most people who get Valley Fever fully recover and do not get this disease again; however those with severe infections may need medication for several months. Valley Fever cannot be spread from one person to another or from animals to people.
Valley Fever can be difficult to prevent but recommendations that may help:
When it is windy outside and the air is dusty, especially during dust storms:
• Stay inside and keep windows and doors closed
• While driving, keep car windows shut and use “recirculating” air conditioning if available
When working or playing in areas with open dirt:
• Wet soil before disturbing it to reduce dust
• Wear an N95 mask or respirator

For more information call 661-321-3000 or visit www.kerncountyvalleyfever.com.