Universities team up to fight Valley Fever
November 4, 2013
• Coordinate research into deadly disease
• “Community input is very important”
Three of the major universities in the Central Valley are uniting to determine research priorities and public service needs to address valley fever, a spore-borne disease that can sicken and even kill.
It’s caused when spores that have been embedded in dirt for perhaps millennia are released by farming, construction and even vehicle movement and then are inhaled by humans. Most people who are infected do not show symptoms, but some people may experience flu-like symptoms that last from weeks to months. Severe cases can even result in death. The fungus is commonly found in the Southwest, particularly Arizona and California, including the San Joaquin Valley.
The University of California, Merced’s Health Sciences Research Institute, the University of California, San Francisco Fresno Medical Education Program and the California State University, Fresno Central California Center for Health and Human Services are working together on the issue.
The campuses will hold “Valley Fever Research Day” from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at the UCSF Fresno Center for Medical Education and Research, 155 N. Fresno St., Fresno.
The forum, funded in part by Sierra Health Foundation and Kaiser Permanente, is intended to facilitate a conversation that informs and guides valley fever research in the San Joaquin Valley with the goal of improving detection, prevention and treatment of the illness.
“Community input is very important for this conversation,” says Paul Brown, a UC Merced professor and director of the Health Sciences Research Institute. “The voices of businesses, public agencies and community organizations that serve or work with people who may be at risk for valley fever are needed to make sure that the most appropriate research is available to serve the San Joaquin Valley and California.”
Presentations from researchers, clinicians, advocates and community members are expected to spark discussions and lead to a plan to improve healthcare, research and community interventions. This forum represents the first step in an action plan being developed by a consortium that includes UC Merced, UCSF Fresno, Fresno State, Community Medical Centers, Children’s Hospital Central California, the public health departments in the eight counties that make up the San Joaquin Valley and community organizations serving or working with people most at risk for valley fever.
The forum is free and open to the public. Attendees can register online and contact Erin Gaab at 209-228-4803 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.