Dec 13, 2017

Thomas Fire could increase risk of Valley Fever

Ventura County, CA
USA
by
KSBY
A dozer from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department clears a fire break across a canyon from atop Camino Cielo down to Gibraltar to make a stand should the fire move in that direction. Photo: Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP
A dozer from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department clears a fire break across a canyon from atop Camino Cielo down to Gibraltar to make a stand should the fire move in that direction. Photo: Mike Eliason, Santa Barbara County Fire Department via AP

As the Thomas Fire continues to grow in size, it brings the possibility of more Valley Fever cases. 

Valley Fever is a lung infection caused by a fungus found in soil.
     
Health officials have linked it to at least six deaths in San Luis Obispo County this year.
     
It is more common to occur in very dry conditions and wildfires only increase the odds of an uptick in cases. 

"When you're having these big fires that you have, there's more toiling of the soil, and certainly we see more cases of Valley Fever," said Dr. Jeffrey Sager, lung specialist. 

Valley Fever spores may be more likely to become airborne because the soil is being disturbed. Experts say wearing an N-95 mask will help prevent the possibility of breathing in the spores.