CHA News Article

Recent Valley Fever Outbreak in San Joaquin Valley Prisons Highlights Risk

California Healthline reported this week on the threat of valley fever transmission in California prisons. Researchers estimate that more than 150,000 people nationwide contract valley fever, or coccidioidomycosis, each year. Commonly found in soil — especially in California’s Central Valley — the cocci fungus is contracted when its spores become airborne. In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began investigating the deaths of more than 30 inmates who had contracted valley fever at Avenal and Pleasant Valley state prisons, both in the San Joaquin Valley. Their deaths resulted in a federal order for 3,200 inmates to be relocated, but Gov. Brown’s administration has challenged the order in court. More information on valley fever is available at the California Department of Public Health website.