Valley Fever Symposium begins with news of clinical trial

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Congressman Kevin McCarthy's two-day Valley Fever Symposium began Monday with a survivor's reception and an announcement of a clinical trail.

Valley Fever is a disease caused by a fungus that lives in soil. The San Joaquin Valley is among the highest-risk locations in the world for valley fever exposure.

Anyone exposed to the fungus can get the infection. The greatest danger is for people whose jobs expose them to dust, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Valley Fever is often mild, with no symptoms, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, cough, headache, rash and muscle aches.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden and National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins are attending the Bakersfield Valley Fever Symposium.

Collins announced Monday that a clinical trial will be held in the Bakersfield area with 1,000 symptomatic participants. The aim is to better treat valley fever and ultimately prevent or cure the disease.

"I am pleased Dr. Frieden and Dr. Collins are coming to the Central Valley to see first-hand what our community is doing to combat Valley Fever," the congressman said in a news release. "Through this symposium, we will continue the ongoing collaboration and involvement among our community, academia, the private sector and federal officials to improve diagnosis and treatments. Our goal is to continue raising awareness and prevention of this disease as well as continue to work on developing a vaccine."

The survivor's reception is 4:30 p.m. Monday at Kern County Department of Public Health - Hans Einstein Center, 1800 Mt. Vernon Ave.

The symposium continues Tuesday at California State University, Bakersfield's multipurpose room, with the following schedule:

  • 8 a.m. to noon. - State of the Science, Presentations from Leading Experts on Valley Fever
  • 1-1:45 p.m. - The Congressional Valley Fever Task Force
  • 2-2:45 p.m. - California Public Policy and Challenges
  • 3-3:45 p.m. - Susceptible Populations of Valley Fever
  • 4-4:45 p.m. - Pets/Animals and Valley Fever