Valley Fever


Anyone can get Valley Fever, including healthy adults and children. People who live, work, or spend time outdoors near areas where dirt and dust are stirred up have a higher risk of getting Valley Fever. Most people, about 6 in 10, will not experience any symptoms at all when exposed to the fungus, and their bodies will naturally fight off the infection. If symptoms are present, the fungus usually infects the lungs and can cause respiratory symptoms. Common symptoms that may develop 1 to 3 weeks after breathing in the fungus include:

  • cough
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • night sweats
  • chest pain
  • muscle or joint pain
  • tiredness
  • rash

Even with symptoms, many people will recover on their own without medical intervention.

In rare cases, about 1 in 100 people will experience disseminated Valley Fever, which is when the fungus leaves the lungs and travels to other parts of the body. Individuals with severe or disseminated Valley Fever will most likely require hospitalization and need months to years of follow-up treatment. Disseminated Valley Fever can become a life-long illness requiring continuing treatment or even be fatal. Individuals at increased risk of developing severe Valley Fever include those:

  • who are older (60+ years old)
  • are pregnant
  • have diabetes
  • have conditions that weaken their immune system, such as cancer, autoimmune illnesses, HIV, and organ transplant recipients

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)