A vaccine against Valley Fever finally works – for dogs


Also, since valley fever is a regional disease, a physician needs regional knowledge to recognize its existence. No one working in New York City would consider it the way a Las Vegas physician would treat it. Complicating the lack of recognition, only 26 states (plus Washington, DC) rank it as something that needs to be reported to public health authorities. And while California is one of the most affected states, second only to Arizona, affluent California tech workers rarely get the disease. Its main victims are people who are already immunocompromised or those who work outside or come in contact with hot, windy, dusty conditions: not just farm workers, contractors, road crews and diggers and homemakers make up the subdivision.

Others at risk: Military personnel stationed at southwestern bases and winter vacationers from the cold northern states, all of whom return to places where doctors do not recognize the illness. I wrote for such Scientific American This summer, in 2018, CDC epidemiologists swept across the country with the disease and found cases in 14 states, most of which are located on the Canadian border – places so cold that infection could not occur there. After uncovering the patients’ past travels, investigators admitted that the individuals had been infected somewhere in the south and had brought the fungus home.

Thompson said, “If we get a vaccine, it is certain that those who live in the area, where they live, who are immunocompromised, will definitely start.” It would be interesting to do – although I do not imagine that states would want to warn people about vaccinations before traveling. “

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Valley fever is estimated to cost 9 3.9 billion a year, and according to one estimate, one vaccine could potentially save $ 1.5 billion in healthcare costs each year. But that cost, and thus the urge to get a vaccine, is almost certain to increase because climate change is expanding to places where there is a risk of valley fever transmission. The fungus responds to temperature and humidity: it needs a warm environment to thrive and it stays calm in the soil in damp conditions. But as the climate warms, new areas will open up Coccidioides, And the shifting of the type of rainfall means that the regions where it has begun to grow will dry up enough to break down and flow. The center of Washington State already has a well-known area of ​​vulnerability, a place that was previously considered too cold for fungi. In 2010, three people there contracted valley fever, including a construction worker and a teenager who were roaring at ATV.

In 2019, Morgan Garris, an earth systems scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, used temperature and precipitation data to more accurately predict where valley fever is localized, based on the fungus’s known behavior in the humidity and temperature range. Using these results, and combining them with different climate-warming forecasts, he created a model of how the range of valleys in greenhouse gas emissions could be extended under different conditions. Under the high-temperature scenario (global rise of about 9 degrees Fahrenheit), the region in which the disease will double in size by 2100 will cover 17 states, including Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska and Dakotas. . The number of cases, the model predicted, would increase by half. In another analysis based on that work, he estimated that by 2100, the cost of valley fever in the United States would reach $ 18.5 billion per year.

That looming bill, along with its underlying illness and death, may be the best reason to reach for a vaccine. “Climate change will exacerbate the ongoing threat and create new threats,” Garris said. “We will need resources in the future to adequately fight emerging diseases. Having a vaccine to address the risk of valley fever will allow us to run out of resources to address other issues related to climate change, especially human health.”


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