The fight against valley fever may reach a new milestone. A bill in the state legislature would fund research for this disease in hopes of finding a cure.
The bill introduced by State Senator Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield, would allocate $1 million to fund research into a valley fever vaccine. Valley fever- also known as coccidioidomycosis- cases have increased dramatically over the last decade, including in the Central Valley. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says nearly 9,500 cases were reported nationwide in 2013.
Fuller says since there is still no cure and no vaccine, more research is critical.
“Valley fever is costly and debilitating leaving patients fatigue for weeks at a time.”
The disease is caused by a fungus that thrives throughout the Central Valley and other parts of the Southwest, sending out spores. If inhaled the fungus can grow in people’s lungs and can spread throughout the body. Those infected can experience flu like symptoms but in severe cases it can lead to long term disability or death.
“SB 115 is needed to complete research and progress on valley fever vaccine and provide protection for citizens at risk in these areas,” Fuller says.
In 2009, the state allocated $1 million into valley fever research but the funding expired in 2010.
The new bill, SB 115, will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday.