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Dust spores are flying, and cases of Valley Fever are on the rise on the Central Coast.
Key Valley Fever symptoms to look out for are breathing problems, fever and rashes covering the arms and legs.
The illness is caused by a fungus living deep in soil, which has been there for hundreds of years. When the soil is broken up, the spores are set free and inhaled, along with dust. Construction is one way these spores can be released, but it’s difficult to pin point where each case comes from.
“It is almost impossible to say whether this happened because they were out in the fields plowing,” said Dr. David Harris, Cal Poly Head of Medical Services, “and there was dust that was raised from that or they were riding a horse, or they were just out hiking and it was dusty. It’s fairly hard to track down and say, ‘Aha, this construction project or walking on that trail.'”
Harris recommends seeking medical help if symptoms last more than one week.