The Arizona Board of Regents is putting 4.5 million dollars over the next three years toward research on Valley Fever. That money's from a sales tax program set in 2001.
Local family physician, Doctor Andrew Carroll, says more information on the infectious disease is needed.
“It's great to hear that we're getting research dollars because I think we could know more and actually get better testing hopefully point of care testing at a doctor's office to help us diagnose it quicker, and then better treatments,” says Carroll. “We don't have a whole lot of treatments for it. And I'd like to see some better options for treatment for Valley Fever."
The Board of Regents says with the millions, "Technologies created at ASU will be tested to suppress dust and Valley Fever in fallow fields." Researchers will work with state health officials trying to pinpoint valley fever hotspots.
Carroll says, "We definitely see more patients who are from the outskirts of the city. So we see folks from Queen Creek, San Tan Valley, Maricopa and some of the new developments out in east Mesa. And that's because a lot of dirt has been picked up by construction."
State health leaders say Valley Fever is a growing issue and will continue with increased water restrictions anticipated as a result of the drought.
Dr. Frank Lovecchio, Emergency Physician says, “This season like other seasons was always a potentially serious health issue." Lovecchio goes on to say, “It's estimated that approximately 80% of us will live in Phoenix and Tucson have gotten Valley Fever in the past."
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, more than 11,000 Arizonans caught Valley Fever in 2021.