Valley fever has long been a major health concern for people who live in the San Joaquin Valley. A fungus that grows in the soil can become airborne. If inhaled it can cause serious health issues, even death in some cases, though most people who contract the disease have a mild case, and they don’t even know they’ve had it. Now cases of the disease are up significantly in Kern County and some say it is connected to California's weather patterns. It's one theory explored in the first report of a new series on the disease from the Center For Health Journalism Collaborative, which includes Valley Public Radio, the Bakersfield Californian and a number of other outlets. To learn more about the project, which will debut original reporting on the disease over the coming weeks, we spoke with Harold Pierce of the Californian and FM89's Kerry Klein.