It's a health issue we all face because we live in the desert southwest. Arizona is one of the worst places in the country for valley fever.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say Arizona has seen the biggest increase in valley fever since 1998, from about 1,500 cases, to 16,000 in 2011.
Arizona accounts for more than 66 percent of valley fever cases in the southwest, which includes California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.
Why Arizona? The spores of fungus that cause valley fever are found in the soil in our state. Dust storms kick up the spores and spread them through the air.
"During a dust storm you should probably stay inside. There's dust in the air, the spores are circulating, so just common sense practices like staying inside when there's a dust storm. If you're going to do any gardening just be careful about the risk of valley fever," says Clarisse Tsang, Arizona Department of Health Services.
Valley fever is a respiratory infection with causes flu-like symptoms.
If those symptoms persist, call your doctor and get tested for valley fever. Nearly 75 percent of patients miss time at work or school. 40 percent require hospitalization.
WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
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