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Health

Potentially Lethal Valley Fever Rate Doubles In California

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Dr. Jason Greenspan (L) and emergency room nurse Junizar Manansala care for a patient in the ER of Mission Community Hospital where doctors held a press conference outside on a class action lawsuit against the state of California by a coalition of emergency room physicians claiming that without additional funding, the entire emergency healthcare system is on the verge of collapse on January 28, 2009 in Panorama City, California. (David McNew/Getty Images)

A doctor and a nurse treat a patient in a hospital emergency room. (David McNew/Getty Images)

CBS SF Bay (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSSanFrancisco.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSSanFrancisco.com/Health

FRESNO (CBS/AP) — A new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the annual rate of hospitalizations for valley fever, a potentially lethal but often misdiagnosed disease, has doubled over the past 12 years in California.

According to the study published Wednesday, the fever—which can be contracted by simply breathing fungus spores found in soil—has cost more than $2 billion in hospital charges.

While in most cases the fever results in no symptoms or causes mild to severe flu-like symptoms, in some cases the infection can spread to the brain, bones, skin, even eyes, leading to blindness, skin abscesses, lung failure, even death.

In California, according to the CDC, valley fever cases rose from about 700 in 1998 to more than 5,500 cases reported in 2011.

The fever is prevalent in arid regions of the U.S., especially California and Arizona.

 

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

 

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