Senate Concurrent ResolutionNo. 7

Introduced by Senator Fuller

January 13, 2015

Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 7—Relative to Valley Fever Awareness Month.


SCR 7, as introduced, Fuller. Valley Fever Awareness Month.

This measure would declare August 2015 as Valley Fever Awareness Month.

Fiscal committee: no.

P1    1WHEREAS, Valley Fever (coccidioidomycosis), a progressive,
2multisymptom, respiratory disorder, is a debilitating disease; and

3WHEREAS, Valley Fever is caused by the inhalation of tiny
4airborne fungi that live in the soil but are released into the air by
5soil disturbance or wind; and

6WHEREAS, Valley Fever attacks the respiratory system, causing
7infections that can lead to symptoms that resemble a cold,
8influenza, or pneumonia; and

9WHEREAS, If left untreated or mistreated, infection can spread
10from the lungs into the bloodstream, causing inflammation to the
11skin, permanent damage to lung and bone tissue, and swelling of
12the membrane surrounding the brain, leading to meningitis, which
13can be devastating and even fatal; and

14WHEREAS, Once serious symptoms of Valley Fever appear,
15including pneumonia and labored breathing, prompt treatment with
16often toxic antifungal drugs must be given, which is especially
17disagreeable for patients who require the drugs to be injected
P2    1beneath the base of their skulls for meningitis and which can cause
2side effects such as nausea, fever, and kidney damage; and

3WHEREAS, Within California alone, Valley Fever is found in
4portions of the Sacramento Valley, all of the San Joaquin Valley,
5desert regions, and portions of southern California; and

6WHEREAS, California does not have an official statewide
7method of tracking the rate of Valley Fever infections; and

8WHEREAS, In the last 10 years, infection rates in California
9and Arizona have risen 400 percent, from an estimated 31 cases
10for every 100,000 people in 1999 to 157 cases for every 100,000
11people in 2011; and

12WHEREAS, In Kern County, the rate of infection of Valley
13Fever more than tripled from 2009, for a total of 2,051 cases in
142010 and 2,734 cases in 2011; and

15WHEREAS, San Joaquin County Public Health Services
16recorded 27 cases of Valley Fever in 2009, 46 cases in 2010, and
17123 cases in 2011; and

18WHEREAS, Valley Fever infection rates rose twelvefold
19nationwide from 1995 to 2009, according to the federal Centers
20for Disease Control and Prevention, and researchers estimate that
21the fungus infects more than 150,000 people each year who either
22suffer serious ailments without knowing the cause of their illness
23or escape detection of the disease; and

24WHEREAS, Misdiagnosis of Valley Fever is so pervasive that
25experts say that some people suffer and even die from Valley Fever
26without knowing they ever had the disease; and

27WHEREAS, The Governor declared a Drought State of
28Emergency on January 17, 2014, and California is experiencing
29record dry conditions; and

30WHEREAS, Dry conditions and lack of precipitation present
31urgent problems regarding Valley Fever; and

32WHEREAS, Valley Fever is usually found in soil two to eight
33inches from the surface and the extreme dry conditions caused by
34drought increase the chances of coccidioidomycosis airborne fungi
35exposure; and

36WHEREAS, Central Valley prison inmates are being infected
37by Valley Fever at epidemic rates, contributing significantly to the
38state’s prison health care costs; and

39WHEREAS, The rapid spread of Valley Fever at state prisons
40in the Central Valley has resulted in multiple prison inmate deaths
P3    1and prompted calls to close certain affected prisons, further
2exacerbating efforts to comply with federal orders to reduce prison
3overcrowding; and

4WHEREAS, Valley Fever kills between 100 to 200 more
5Americans every year than tuberculosis; and

6WHEREAS, Valley Fever most seriously affects the young, the
7elderly, those with lowered immune systems, and those of African
8American and Filipino descent; and

9WHEREAS, Valley Fever is a disease that has been studied for
10the past 100 years but still remains impossible to control and
11difficult to treat; and

12WHEREAS, There is no known cure for Valley Fever, but
13researchers are closer than ever to finding a much-needed vaccine
14against this devastating disease; and

15WHEREAS, The research effort to find a vaccine for Valley
16Fever and a funding partnership including the State of California
17were approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Wilson
18in 1997; now, therefore, be it

19Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, the Assembly
20thereof concurring,
That the Legislature does hereby proclaim
21August 2015 as Valley Fever Awareness Month; and be it further

22Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of
23this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.