Is Valley Fever America's Next Great Public Health Challenge?

William Heisel kicks of a series examining the infectious disease more common than AIDS, hepatitis, or Lyme disease. What environmental elements are contributing to its spread and what can planners and public health officials do to respond?

This past weekend, ReportingonHealth.org launched Just One Breath, an initiative of the California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships at USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism that is designed to investigate and publicize the infectious disease called "Valley Fever."

Heisel, project manager for the team of reporters, editors, photographers, and graphic artists working on the initiative, puts the rising prevalence of Valley Fever in the context of other, highly publicized diseases such as Whooping Cough and West Nile virus.

"On Saturday," says Heisel, "the team started the series by detailing the rise in cases. They followed up with a story on Sunday that examined whether climate change is expanding the disease's reach."

"In the coming weeks, the team will explore the long history of inaction by government agencies, the tricky science of studying the disease, the high costs to patients and taxpayers, and the lack of interest in funding treatments and vaccines."

 

Thanks to Chris Steins

Full Story: Just One Breath: Valley Fever Harms More People Every Day than the Diseases that Make Headlines

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