Drought, Dust in Southwest Lead To 8-Fold Jump In Valley Fever Cases

"As the region dries out, infections from inhaling soil-dwelling fungus see stunning jump."

"The infection rate of Valley Fever in the Southwest United States has gone up a stunning 800 percent from 2000 to 2011, as dust storms have more than doubled.

New research directly links the rise in Valley Fever to the rise in dust storms, which in turn is driven by climate change. Valley Fever, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls 'a fungal lung infection that can be devastating,' is caused by inhaling soil-dwelling fungus. When the soil dries out and turns to dust, the wind can make the fungus airborne.

'Dust storms are found to better correlated with the disease than any other known controlling factor,' a new study led by NOAA scientists concluded."

Joe Romm reports for Think Progress June 12, 2017.

Source: Think Progress, 06/16/2017