Valley Fever increase: Dramatic jump in Valley Fever cases across Arizona, southwest

PHOENIX - A familiar health threat is taking shape in the Valley, and across parts of the southwest.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control shows cases of Valley Fever have skyrocketed over the past few years in our state, jumping from about 5,000 cases in 2008 to more than 16,000 cases in 2011.

One of the study's authors spoke to us today about what the results mean for Valley residents.

"Valley Fever is caused by a fungus that grows in the soil here, and you can't just tell people not to breathe," explained CDC spokeswoman Clarisse Tsang."But, if you're having a cough, fever, fatigue, be proactive about your health, ask your doctor to test you for Valley Fever."

While the number of cases has increased dramatically, it's important to note that some of the increase may be the result of better testing and reporting procedures, too.

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