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Saturday, February 27th, 2021

Democratic-led legislation addresses Valley Fever

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A group of Democratic lawmakers recently crafted legislation designed to combat Valley Fever through enhanced diagnosis, treatment, and vaccine development.

Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), TJ Cox (D-CA), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Josh Harder (D-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) said the End Valley Fever Now Act addresses the potentially deadly disease caused by breathing toxic spores found in soil.

“Cases of Valley Fever in communities across the Central Coast have skyrocketed over the last few years,” Panetta said. “The End Valley Fever Now Act will help train our local medical providers to diagnose and treat those exposed to this disease. It will also help us to be more proactive in vaccine development by collecting critical clinical data. Our legislation is an important step forward in combating this disease and protecting our community members.”

Cox, the bill’s lead sponsor, said Valley Fever can be deadly, and troubling data indicates it’s only going to get worse with climate change.

“In discussions across the Central Valley and at my valley fever town hall in October, I heard from patients, experts, and advocates whose lives have been impacted by the disease,” he said. “We must bring more awareness and education as well as access to faster diagnosis and clinical trials. My bill does just that for the thousands who have contracted Valley Fever and the millions across California and the Southwest at risk for infection.”

Cox said Central Valley families should be able to work and play outdoors without fear of the disease, and for those who do have it, there is a need for the best, most advanced care to save their lives.