Valley Fever Corridor: Tucson Walk for Cure Oct. 10 – UPDATE AZ: 172 new cases in less than week

Tucson dog Gabby lost her fight with Valley Fever Sept. 22/submitted photo

You could have Valley Fever and not even know it.

Valley Fever annually infects thousands of Arizonans as well as 1 in 25 area dogs, often with absolutely no symptoms, University of Arizona’s Valley Fever Center for Excellence says.

Or Valley Fever can kill.

Gabby, an award-winning miniature schnauzer, lost her battle with Valley Fever Sept. 22, after fighting the disease for nearly half her life.

The 5-year-old Tucson show dog and dedicated pet was struck with Valley Fever two years ago. Even thousands of dollars worth of veterinary care could not stave off the disease that eventually led to Gabby’s kidney failure.

Valley Fever has no cure.

UA’s Valley Fever Center for Excellence aims to fix that, with funds raised for research with the Walk to Cure Valley Fever Oct. 10 at UA Mall. Sign-in starts at 8 a.m. and events run from 8:30 to 11 a.m. More details below or at www.vfever.org

Gabby, aka Marki-Galena's Talk of the Town/submitted photo

The Dirt on Valley Fever

Beware when cleaning out that pack rat’s nest, racing through the desert on your ATV, digging for bones or otherwise playing around in Arizona soil, as Valley Fever comes from a fungus known as cocci, or coccidioidomycosis, that grows in dirt. The infection gets into the lungs when the fungus spores become airborne and we – or our pets – breathe it in.

The fungus cocci thrives in southern Arizona, with 80 percent of the 4 million people living in high-risk Valley Fever areas right here in Tucson and Phoenix.

Two-thirds of all Valley Fever cases are in Arizona, with Pima, Pinal and Maricopa counties hit so hard they are known as the “Valley Fever Corridor.”

Parts of New Mexico, Texas, Nevada and Utah are also a prime cocci zone, as is California, from whence came its discovery and name of “San Joaquin Valley Fever.”

Arizona’s prime time to contact the disease is June and July, and then again in October and November.

Anyone who lives in or travels through Arizona or other areas with infected soil is at risk, especially pregnant women who have a lowered immune system during parts of their pregnancy.

Dogs are especially at risk for the disease, but it also preys on horses, sheep, cattle, coyotes, rodents, bats, snakes and other native species and pets.

Even if the disease is not fatal, it can make you or your pet quite sick.

Gabby was just one of Marianne’s 11 dogs that became infected with the disease in the past 18 years. Eight of them survived, but only after months and months of medication. Medications, Marianne said, that “are very hard on a dog’s liver, some with lingering side effects.”

Symptoms

About 60 percent of Valley Fever cases don’t show any symptoms or only slight symptoms that resemble the flu. Others suffer fatigue, cough, profuse night sweats, fever, appetite loss, chest pain and achy muscles and joints. Skin rashes that look like hives or measles also sometimes crop up.

Doctors use a blood test to diagnose the disease, which can turn chronic and linger for years. It is not contagious.

Walk to Cure Valley Fever and save pets like Gabby/submitted photo

WALK TO CURE VALLEY FEVER

What: Tucson Walk to Cure Valley Fever
When: Oct. 10, 8 to 11 a.m.
Where: University of Arizona Mall
How much: Entry fee for walk $25, other entry fees for events vary.
Learn more or register online at vfever.org or call 626-6517

Event includes agility fun course for dogs, children’s craft area, Pup-cake contest and more. More details at vfever.org

Dogs welcome, of course (on leash and vaccinated, also of course)

UPDATE:

172 new cases of Valley Fever in less than week

Arizona has seen an increase of 172 new confirmed and probable cases of Valley Fever from Sept. 16 to Sept. 23, the most recent data available from the state health department.

New cases in Pima County totaled 23, bringing the county’s total for the period between Jan. 3 to Sept. 23 to 906.

According to the recent update from the Office of Infectious Disease Services, Arizona Department of Health Services there have been 7,470 confirmed and probable cases of Valley Fever between the period of Jan. 3 to Sept. 23.

See complete report at: http://www.azdhs.gov/phs/oids/pdf/weekly.pdf.

[tnipoll]

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About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at ryngargulinski.com.
This entry was posted in danger, death, environment, gross stuff, health, life, notable folks, Pets/animals and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Valley Fever Corridor: Tucson Walk for Cure Oct. 10 – UPDATE AZ: 172 new cases in less than week

  1. leftfield says:

    Gabby was a fine looking dog. 

  2. Alan in Kent WA says:

    My wife had Valley Fever.  You never really get over it, and chest X-Rays become more exciting if the examiner is not notified that it is in your history.

    Back in the 80’s, when the landscrapers were doing acres a minute, was a bad time. Even as there were attempts to keep the ground moist as the dust would billow with wind.

    • Rynski says:

      sorry to hear about your wife’s bout with valley fever, alan in kent wa.
      can just imagine examiner’s x-ray reaction if not forewarned – geesh!
      since economic destitution is keeping construction down, guess we won’t have the same kind of 80s dust with disease. now i wish i wore a mask when i cleaned out that pack rat nest.

  3. radmax says:

    Howdy Rynski! Thanks for bringing this dirty little secret to light. For those of us born in the area, valley fever is a well known fact of life. Your article is the first I’ve seen in some time on this nasty malady which affects so many.
    “Valley Fever Corridor”….beats the heck outta ‘Aids Alley’ I guess…

    • Rynski says:

      ha! ‘valley fever corridor’ is def better than the other option –
      glad i could remind folks of valley fever danger as well as promote sunday’s walk for the cure at ua mall. it sounds like it’ll be a hoot, with all kinds of dog and kid activities.
      and good to see comments from ya! i thought you got lost at sea…hahahahha.

  4. Cherlyn Gardner Strong says:

    We inherited a Chihuahua with Valley Fever. With medication and care, he lived to be almost 17.

    • Rynski says:

      yaaay! thanks for the fine valley fever survivor note – 17 is a gloriously long life. glad the medications and care worked.
      also hope your new chihuahuas are faring well.

  5. Bern Jenkins says:

    My children wanted WA DSHS 14-078 this month and came across a website that hosts a huge forms library . If others want WA DSHS 14-078 too , here’s https://goo.gl/vpzhtw.

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