The Valley Fever Collaborative is an organization that was created in 2021 to coordinate activities addressing the economic and public health problems that Valley fever poses to the state of Arizona and beyond. As you can see by the graph below, Arizona contributes largely to the number of reported Valley fever cases.
Valley fever, scientifically known as coccidioidomycosis, is a fungal infection caused by the inhalation of spores from the soil-dwelling fungus Coccidioides. Primarily endemic to arid regions of the southwestern United States, particularly the San Joaquin Valley of California and the desert areas in Arizona, this silent threat affects thousands of people each year. However, recent advancements in Valley fever research have brought hope for improved diagnostics, treatment options, and risk and prevention strategies.
The Valley Fever Collaborative (VFC) involves a group of scientists, healthcare professionals, and public health agencies working together with affected communities. Collaborations between researchers and clinicians are essential for translating scientific discoveries into practical applications that benefit patients. Moving forward, continued investment in research, funding, and knowledge-sharing is necessary to advance our understanding of Valley fever, develop new treatment options, and ultimately strive towards its prevention and eradication.
This page will highlight members of the VFC that continue to work together developing treatments and solutions for Valley fever.
Valley fever is intimately linked to environmental conditions, and understanding the factors that contribute to its prevalence is crucial. Researchers in the VFC are investigating the effects of climate change, soil composition, and land-use patterns of the distribution and incidence of Valley fever. Bridget Barker, from Northern Arizona University (NAU), is one of those researchers. Bridget is working on several projects moving Valley fever research forward. This research can inform public health strategies and help individuals take appropriate precautions when residing or traveling in endemic regions. Increasing public awareness about Valley fever is equally important, as early recognition of symptoms and prompt medical attention can prevent complications and improve outcomes.