Data shows Valley fever is spiking in Phoenix area right now
Seasonal spread of Valley fever is typically very unpredictable. But researchers say new data analysis is giving clues that the fungal respiratory infection is spiking right now.
Dr. John Galgiani, director of the University of Arizona's Valley Fever Center for Excellence, compared recent lab test results from Banner Health urgent care centers. He said the Phoenix area appears to be in the midst of a major surge.
"It's very clear that we've been in a high season over the past several weeks," Galgiani told KJZZ News. “Right now, if you get pneumonia diagnosed, there’s about a one-in-five chance that that pneumonia is caused by Valley fever.”
Galgiani said high Valley fever seasons can last weeks or even months at a time.
He said the illness, caused by airborne fungal spores, is hard to avoid. But he said it’s important for patients to be aware that it’s a possibility right now so they can be tested for the illness and can get the proper treatment.
"We suggest people be tested for Valley fever any time of the year," Galgiani said. "But right now, it's especially likely that your pneumonia is being caused by Valley fever."
The Show spoke more about what we know so far with Fariba Donovan, who’s an associate professor of medicine in the UA's Valley fever center.