Valley fever endemic among respiratory illnesses plaguing Arizona

Jan 22, 2024, 4:15 AM | Updated: Feb 2, 2024, 2:00 pm

(Pexels photo)...

(Pexels photo)

(Pexels photo)

PHOENIX — Coming into the back half of flu season, respiratory illnesses such as Valley fever, Covid-19 and run-of-the-mill influenza are as prevalent as ever.

Each virus can range from mild symptoms like a light cough to gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting all the way up to more severe symptoms such as pneumonia.

Though it’s not too late to get vaccines for Covid-19 or the flu, there are other preventative measures to stay healthy as well, such as reducing stress, washing hands, resting, healthy eating and staying warm.

However, Valley fever is much less discussed and that’s part of what can make it so dangerous.

“Valley fever is a respiratory illness caused by spores that live in the desert in our soil,” Samia Kadri, a leader family nurse practitioner at Banner Urgent Care, said. “A lot of times people have a cough and they don’t really go get checked out.”

It most greatly affects southwestern regions including Arizona and its surrounding states. People who are often outside, such as landscapers, runners and hikers are most at risk.

She emphasized taking Valley fever seriously early in the onset of symptoms because early diagnosis and early treatment are key to moving past the sickness.

Valley fever is the type of respiratory illness that, if not treated, can impact other parts of the body as well.

“It can get into the joints, it can develop into meningitis, it can go to any area of your body outside your lungs,” Kadri added. “You would have to see an infectious disease specialist and sometimes the outcome is not favorable. It can go into the spine, the legs. So early diagnosis, early treatment is the best outcome.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Kate Ourada contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook Photo/Scottsdale Police Department)...

4 people stabbed during early-morning melee at Scottsdale bar

A suspect is in custody after four people were stabbed early Saturday during a violent altercation at a bar in Scottsdale.

2 hours ago

Paella featuring lobster tail, jumbo prawns, diver scallops, mussels, chorizo, arborio rice, Englis...

David Veenstra

Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale opens new restaurant Faro & Brag

The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa opened its new restaurant, "Faro & Brag," in Scottsdale featuring modern cuisine and outdoor seating.

3 hours ago

View of midtown Phoenix. (Phoenix Business Journal Photo)...

Audrey Jensen/Phoenix Business Journal

Phoenix seeks applicants to turn vacant land into mixed-use development

The city of Phoenix is seeking developers for several infill parcels it owns for new housing and commercial projects.

3 hours ago

Velvet Road is one of the four performances as part of Peoria's Music in March concert series. (Peo...

Arin Ducharme

Music in March concerts return to Peoria every Sunday

Music in March at Paloma Community Park returns to Peoria. The concerts will take place at Paloma Community Park near Lake Pleasant Parkway.

4 hours ago

A band performs during an Arizona Bike Week motorcycle rally in Scottsdale, Arizona...

Kevin Stone

Yelawolf, George Thorogood, Everclear round out Arizona Bike Week concert lineup

The concert schedule for Arizona Bike Week 2024 in Scottsdale is set, with Yelawolf, George Thorogood and Everclear joining the lineup.

14 hours ago

A man was shot and killed in northwest Phoenix on Feb. 23, 2023. (Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Polic...

Police seeking suspect after man shot dead in northwest Phoenix alley

The Phoenix Police Department is looking for a suspect after a man was shot dead in a northwest Phoenix alley on Thursday evening.

18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.


Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Valley fever endemic among respiratory illnesses plaguing Arizona