Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis)
New 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 U.S. 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 Arizona, California, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, and Utah and parts of Mexico, Central America and South America.
This website provides information for occupational safety and health professionals needed to understand and prevent work-related Valley Fever. The disease has important occupational aspects. For example, certain jobs and work activities, particularly those that involve digging in or disturbing soil in endemic areas, are associated with an increased risk of infection to workers. Also, it is important to know that there are preventive interventions that can be used to 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, designed for primary care providers, gives up-to-date statistics on cases in the U.S., provides information to assist providers in diagnosing and treating the illness, and includes recent scientific studies on Valley Fever in the workplace. Case studies 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.