Valley Fever is spreading, and climate change may be to blame

You can catch the disease known as Valley Fever by inhaling spores from a mold-like fungus buried in the dirt. The sickness is usually associated with farmworkers in the Central Valley, but now it’s spreading to the Central Coast. More people were diagnosed with Valley Fever in Ventura and Santa Barbara between January and July of this year than all of last year.

Surfers in Ventura after the Thomas Fire. Photo credit: Matt Sinsky

Venture resident Juanita Rivera (right) sees Dr. Geoffrey Lohmann regularly to monitor her Valley Fever symptoms. Photo credit: James Szkobel-Wolff/KCRW

Valley Fever rates statewide. Photo credit: Ventura County Public Health Department