This was some interesting content pulled from Myth of Progress on Substack, with permission and credit- here are some interesting things about Valley Fever,
Coccidioidomycosis, or Valley fever, is the infectious fungal disease associated with Cocci. Transmitted through the inhalation of Cocci spores, it can affect humans, livestock, pets (dogs and cats), and other wild mammalian fauna. Typically limited to the hotter, drier areas of the New World, the extent of this range is slowly changing and expanding through the continued slow-motion disaster of climate change. Due to its ongoing encroachment into previously untouched areas, such as its confirmed detection in eastern Washington back in 2014, it may prove to be an unfamiliar and under-treated scourge to both the public and the medical practitioners who serve them.
It’s an insidious and wicked problem that future communities in the future path of Valley fever’s endemic spread will face if limited disease surveillance and associated medical knowledge continue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 20,000 cases of Valley fever are reported each year, but the actual numbers associated with infection are likely ten times that figure – and growing.
So, Fungal spores can infect humans and animals resulting in a respiratory infection that may be accompanied by fevers and other side effects. This may result in death or immunocompromising conditions.
As described by Anne Marshall-Chalmers, those who suffer from more severe cases may find themselves on an endless regimen of expensive anti-fungal medication “for months, years or their entire lives, depending on the severity of the disease. Those drugs suppress the division and growth of the fungus, but do not kill it, and the disease is notorious for how long it can linger.” Therein lies the true terror: Valley fever has the very real chance of saddling its victims with permanent medical and financial burdens, a curse that they must carry for the rest of their lives.
The financial burden of treatment for a possibly lifelong condition is surmounting and non-negligible. So the impact of this disease is very real, and it afflicts many Americans. Approximately about 20,000 cases a year.
The article later draws parallels with how the changing climate can create a hotbed for fungal growth and infection, resulting in an interesting cross-section of immunology, mycology, and climate. So those numbers, 20,000 cases, may increase due to the changes of the climate and landscape.
Thank you for reading,
This post was more so a glimpse of another, here the focus is more on the fungi and the relations to us humans. Although there are more interesting tidbits with regards to climate change in the other post. I do recommend you check it out if this has piqued your fancy.
Hopefully you’ve learned a bit about Valley Fever, Cocci, and it’s future projections.