Rep. McCarthy shines Washington's light on valley fever

    Rep. Kevin McCarthy speaks Wednesday, March 6, 2019, in Washington about valley fever and the fight to find a cure. (Sinclair Broadcast Group)

    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) – Rep. Kevin McCarthy hosted a valley fever research roundtable Wednesday in Washington.

    Fellow members of Congress, valley fever researchers, patient advocates, doctors, and scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health were slated to take part, McCarthy’s office said.

    Paul Courson, Capitol Hill journalist for Sinclair Broadcast Group, the parent company of KBAK/KBFX Eyewitness News, caught up to the Bakersfield congressman Wednesday morning, ahead of the roundtable, to discuss valley fever.

    “We’re bringing the brightest minds who are working on this from around the country together,” McCarthy said.

    Their focus is finding the best ways to diagnose and treat valley fever, and ultimately create a vaccine.

    The airborne fungal disease is prevalent in the hot, arid climates like the Central Valley.

    The Kern County Public Health Services Department said last year that valley fever cases were on the rise.

    But, work is underway to combat this potentially deadly disease. Kern Medical says its state-of-the-art Valley Fever Institute will open in late 2019.

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