Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Valley Fever Geologist Geoscientists in Southwest US, Mexico, Central America, and South America Coccidioidomycosis Fungal Spores

"Valley Fever - a sometimes-fatal infection with no known cure and no vaccine - is caused by a soilborne fungus that thrives in the hot, dry soils of the southwestern U.S., Mexico and Central and South America. However, recent reports of infections far outside the endemic area indicate the fungus is either spreading or becoming active in new areas. The disease is contracted through inhalation of fungal spores, which can be aerosolized by soil disturbances from construction, excavation, gardening and landscaping, as well as natural events like dust storms, earthquakes, landslides and wildfires. Geoscientists working in the field need to take precautions against contracting the disease.

Scientists say that little is currently known about the fungus' preferred geology and how a changing climate might be affecting its spread. Read more about where the disease has been found, current research on the disease and how to protect yourself in the field in the September issue of EARTH Magazine"

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