TRACY (CBS13) – High winds can pose a danger to your health, and people in one local city may be impacted the most.

We’re talking about valley fever, and the fungus that causes it is found in the soil in Tracy.

But most people CBS13 talked to in Tracy on Monday had no idea the disease even exists, or thought the term meant something else altogether.

“No, I haven’t heard about it,” one said.

“Valley fever? I have no clue,” said another.

“Sounds like when you get tired of the summer heat in the valley,” guessed another.

Valley fever is a disease caused by a fungus found in soil in southwestern states. People become exposed during dry, windy weather much like we’ve experienced lately.

Victims could experience flu- and pneumonia-like symptoms along with chest pains and a rash. And the effects of the disease can last for months.

And while many have never even heard of valley fever, it’s causing concern for San Joaquin County public health officials, who say the disease is on the rise, especially in Tracy.

In 2009 the county had just 27 cases, in 2010 there were 46, but last year the number nearly tripled to 123 cases.


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