GREEN VALLEY, AZ - Experts say Valley fever is not only often misunderstood, it's also misdiagnosed. A study by the University of Arizona shows that two-thirds of patients with the infection had it misdiagnosed in Arizona.
Part of the reason is the symptoms can be confused with influenza.
Fatigue, coughing, chest pains, fever, rashes, headaches and joint aches are all signs a patient may have Valley fever.
While the flu typically lasts for a week, Valley fever can last for weeks, months, even a year, said Clarisse Tsang, an epidemiologist who works with infectious diseases.
Tsang said if the above-mentioned symptoms are persistent, ask a doctor to test you for Valley fever.
“Doctors, especially ones who didn’t get their training in Arizona, may not be familiar with the disease,” Tsang said.
A simple blood test will show if the fungus is in the person’s blood stream, said Tsang, who specializes in Valley fever.
Anti fungal medication, not antibiotics, will treat the disease, she added.
Valley fever peaks between the months of June and August and between the mild winter months of October and December.
In 2010, more than 10,000 cases were reported in Arizona.
Valley fever can not be transmitted from person to person.
The Arizona Department of Health Services produced a video , where you can learn more about Valley Fever.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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