A mysterious fungal disease is spreading through the American Southwest, and chances are you haven’t heard of it. Coccidioidomycosis, also known as cocci or valley fever is endemic to the region’s soil, as well as California’s Central Valley.
Symptoms can range from fatigue to devastating, flesh-eating infections, and despite efforts, no vaccine exists as of yet. The scariest part? Contracting this disease is as easy as taking a deep breath where the fungus’ spores are present. Since the dust particles are microscopic, not even masks can filter them out, making the disease virtually impossible to prevent. Cases of the disease have risen from about 2,000 in 1998 to over 22,000 in 2011, yet no major public health programs have been enacted to prevent its spread. More@ Salon.