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Assemblyman Fong dedicates August as Valley Fever Awareness Month

Assemblyman Vince Fong

Assembly Concurrent Resolution 58 (ACR 58), authored by Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Kern County), officially recognizes the month of August as Valley Fever Awareness Month.

Valley Fever is a respiratory disease caused by breathing in Coccidioides, a desert fungus that grows in soil and spreads airborne amidst soil disruption or wind. In 2019, there was a record-high total of 9,004 Valley Fever cases in California, with 3,371 cases being in Kern County.

“Having helped organize the first-ever Valley Fever Symposium in Bakersfield, Kern County has been long at the forefront of Valley Fever research and innovation,” said Assemblyman Fong. “Kern County continues to promote best practices and treatments to combat Valley Fever and keep attention on a disease that disproportionately impacts the Central Valley.”

During his tenure in the California State Assembly, Assemblyman Fong has introduced seven pieces of legislation relative to fighting Valley Fever. 

ACR 58 was presented in joint authorship with Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger), and Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield).

“The number of Valley Fever cases in California this year is on the rise, with the largest percentage of cases right here in Kern County,’’ said Brynn Carrigan, Director, Kern County Public Health. “As we recognize Valley Fever Awareness Month, we must continue our efforts to build resiliency and prevent the spread of this disease. Thank you, Assemblyman Fong, for your continued leadership on this issue and for bringing awareness to Valley Fever’s impact on Kern County.”

Kern Medical CEO Russell V. Judd reiterates the importance of Valley Fever Awareness Month, “Valley Fever impacts the lives of too many families in our community. Kern Medical created the Valley Fever Institute to address the need to educate, conduct research and most importantly, care for patients suffering from Valley Fever. Thank you for demonstrating your commitment to the lives and health of your constituents; lending your support for Valley Fever education, awareness, prevention, diagnostics, treatment and vaccine development.”

“The Valley Fever Americas Foundation is committed to fighting Valley Fever by supporting awareness, prevention, early diagnosis and the development of a cure. VFAF gives local residents hope by empowering them to recognize symptoms and supporting them through a full recovery. Valley Fever Awareness Month serves as a powerful reminder of the important work we have ahead until we develop a cure,” said Quon Louey, President, Valley Fever Americas Foundation.

Royce H. Johnson, Chief of the Division of Infectious Disease at Kern Medical provided additional advice to the public. 

“Valley Fever continues to be a challenge for our community, especially since it shares many symptoms with COVID-19. Anyone with lingering respiratory symptoms, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, should be tested for Valley Fever, especially if they have had a negative test for COVID-19. Knowledge of symptoms and testing are the most powerful tools to ensure a timely diagnosis and treatment. In an effort to raise awareness and reduce the impact of this disease in our community, the Valley Fever Institute has launched a free occupational health program for at-risk groups, as well as the ‘Triple Threat’ lecture series for healthcare providers on diagnosing and treating COVID-19, the Flu, and Valley Fever. For information and resources visit ValleyFeverInstitute.com.”

Assemblyman Vince Fong represents the 34th Assembly District, encompassing most of Kern County including the communities of Bakersfield, Bear Valley Springs, China Lake, Frazier Park, Golden Hills, Inyokern, Lebec, Oildale, Ridgecrest, Taft and Tehachapi.