"Valley Fever Cases Soar, Harm Remains Hidden"

"Valley fever starts with the simple act of breathing."

"The fungal spores, lifted from the dry dirt by the wind, pass through your nostrils or down your throat, so tiny they don't even trigger a cough. They lodge in your lungs. If you're fortunate -- and most people are -- they go no further.

But if you are one of the more than 150,000 people stricken with coccidioidomycosis every year nationwide, it's because the spores have sent roots into the moist tissue of your lungs.

They start to feed, and, over time, they can rob you of your health. In serious cases, your muscles waste away. Your bones become brittle. Pustules appear on your arms, neck and face and then erupt."

Kellie Schmitt, Rebecca Plevin, and Tracy Wood report for The California Report via KQED September 10, 2012.

Source: California Report, 09/14/2012