Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis)
California lawexternal icon requires construction employers who work in counties with high rates of Valley Fever to train their employees on minimizing the risk of Valley Fever by May 1, 2020.
Special Notice: It’s important to consider fungal diseases in the context of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic because the symptoms of some fungal diseases can be like those of COVID-19, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
Coccidioidomycosis or Valley Fever is an infectious disease in parts of the United States. It is caused by inhaling microscopic arthroconidia (also known as arthrospores or spores) of the closely related fungal species Coccidioides immitis and C. posadasii. Areas where Coccidioides is endemic (native and common) include states in the southwestern U.S. such as:
- New Mexico
- Parts of Mexico, Central America, and South America
The CDC Valley Fever: General information about symptoms, diagnosis, & treatment web page provides further general information about Valley Fever.
The disease also has important work-related aspects. Certain jobs and work activities are associated with an increased risk of infection to workers. These include jobs that involve digging in or disturbing soil in endemic areas. It is important to know there are prevention measures that can be protect workers at risk.
People who work outdoors in California’s Central Valley and other locations, especially workers who dig or disturb soil, are at risk for Valley Fever. The California Department of Public Health has updated its free online continuing medical education course on work-related Valley Fever. The course is designed for primary care providers and presents
- Up-to-date statistics on cases in the U.S.
- Information to assist providers in diagnosing and treating the illness
- Recent scientific studies on Valley Fever in the workplace
- Case studies that highlight occupations and activities that put workers at risk for contracting Valley Fever
Coccidioidomycosis: Update on Occupational Health Issuesexternal icon – Free CME course
Preventing Work-related Valley Feverexternal icon – California Department of Public Health web page
Estimated areas with coccidioidomycosis (Valley fever)
Go to CDC Valley Fever Maps for more information.