health

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

After decades of complaints from residents, a vote this week by the Fresno City Council could signal what some think is a new direction for southwest Fresno. The city is considering a new specific plan that will guide the future of the 3,000 acre neighborhood west of Highway 99 and south of Highway 180. At its heart is a goal to remake the area, and reduce pollution by telling big industrial facilities to move elsewhere. When she was a little girl, Kimberly McCoy lived near some of the heavy...

Accurate Valley Fever Counts Elude Health Officials

Nov 28, 2016
Casey Christie / The Bakersfield Californian

Estimates of the number of valley fever cases recorded by local, state and federal agencies vary so widely that they call into question the accuracy of the figures released to the public, a Center for Health Journalism Collaborative investigation has found. The finding comes during a critical year for valley fever, or coccidioidomycosis. In Kern County, California, public health officials declared an epidemic in October, predicting more than 2,000 cases in that county alone by year’s end. But...

Kerry Klein/KVPR

We continue our reporting this week on the fungal disease known as valley fever with a story about a potential route to prevention. One of the first lines of defense against any disease is determining who’s at risk. It’s possible to develop immunity to valley fever, and a new skin test could be used to screen for that immunity—but that’s only if the test overcomes some major hurdles. Faith Herrod wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up. The 11-year-old lives in the small Central...

Courtesy KABC Los Angeles / Center For Health Journalism Collaborative

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...

Forecasting An Epidemic: Does Weather Hold The Key To Predicting Valley Fever Outbreaks?

Nov 13, 2016
Craig Kohlruss / The Fresno Bee

When a punishing drought besieged California in the late 1980s, relief came with 30 days of rain in 1991 — dubbed the March Miracle because of how it revived the state’s agricultural economy. Those significant swings in the weather may have had another consequence, though. The next year, Kern County health officials counted more cases of valley fever than ever before, with roughly 3,342 diagnoses and 25 deaths. By contrast, a decade earlier in 1982, fewer than 200 people were diagnosed with...

Kerry Klein/KVPR

The streets of Fresno can be dangerous—not just to drivers and bicyclists, but also to pedestrians. Following a trio of fatal accidents last week, more pedestrians have died this year than in all of 2015, and they’ve made up more than half of all traffic-related deaths. Now, a new city plan aim to make the city safer for walking. It’s 2:30 p.m. on a Tuesday. And in this part of southeast Fresno, that means one thing: school’s out. Kids are excited, but it’s a time of anxiety for some parents...

Facebook page of Congressman Kevin McCarthy

Bakersfield’s Kern Medical has selected to work with the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control on a new clinical trial for valley fever. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy made the announcement Thursday at the hospital. The study aims to learn more about both diagnosing and treating the disease. Valley Fever is caused by a fungus that grows in the soil throughout the southwest, including the Southern San Joaquin Valley. If inhaled it can cause serious health...

Kern County Public Health Services Department Facebook

A new report from the Kern County Public Health Services Department is looking at the issue of childhood deaths in the county. According to the report , 51 children under the age of 17 died in the county last year. Around 40 percent of the deaths were accidental, including drowning and car crashes. Another 40 percent were considered undetermined, meaning there was insufficient or conflicting evidence for the coroner to issue a cause of death. Three quarters of the 15 children under 1 year-old...

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

While the City of Fresno tries to figure out what to do about discolored water at some homes in Northeast Fresno, some residents there are already taking drastic steps, including repiping their homes. On a normal day, the first thing you notice when you enter the home of Faith and Buzz Nitschke is the dozens of antique clocks quietly ticking away. But that is not the case on this day. “They will pull this bathtub. They will come over to here. And as you can see, we have cut holes here, and...

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we look how local residents growing up in neighborhoods filled with violence are dealing with "toxic stress" - a condition often compared to PTSD. We also learn how large wide-body air tankers are changing the fight against wildfires, and hear from Dr. Dana Suskind, who talks about the 30 million word gap and what it means for early childhood development. Later in the show we get a preview of the new season of the San Joaquin Valley Town Hall Lecture Series, which...

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