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More patients needed for valley fever trial

FILE -- Kern Medical officials announce the initiation of a valley fever clinical trial site in Bakersfield, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Valley fever is more prevalent than ever, with thousands of patients across California and Arizona diagnosed every year.

Health providers at Kern Medical had high hopes for the Fluconazole as Early Empiric Treatment trial, known as FLEET. The clinical study set out to test for the effectiveness of early treatment for valley fever using the drug fluconazole.

However, those expectations fell short after enrollment numbers did not live up to expectations.

"One never goes into a research project with the hopes that it does not work," said Dr. Royce Johnson, medical director of the Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical. "Obviously, we are not happy with the enrollment."

The trial began a little over a year ago after millions of dollars in federal funding was secured by Rep. Kevin McCarthy.

Health professionals say there are several reasons patients have expressed regarding their disinterest in the study, including lack of time or transportation.

Kern Medical recently hired a nurse to work on increasing trial participants, and she plans on visiting several emergency facilities to recruit applicants.

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