2.04.2014

More VF in the news

Another recent article on Daily Beast about Valley Fever. It goes on tho talk about the disease as a silent epidemic. It supports my previous post/update on why we need more basic research on this organism. It is undeniable that the disease burden has increased over the last 20 years- and we have no idea why. The recent drought, at its most extreme in the San Joaquin Valley (the "Valley" in VF) could increase conidia (aka spores) in the air/soil...or not. We don't have a good handle on the organism's biology or natural host. So, no idea if the CA drought will increase VF. We also don't understand why SOME people have such severe cases of VF. Is it fungal pathogenicity or human susceptibility? Or both? Or is it just dosage? Again, NIH willing, I hope to answer some of these questions! From another recent article, "Diseases that don't have a high profile also struggle for funding. Consider this: In the past 12 years, the National Institutes of Health has granted valley fever just 4 percent of the research funding it has directed toward . But valley fever has afflicted about four times more people than West Nile, with thousands more going undiagnosed. Valley fever has killed many more people, too." After getting a really crappy comment on our recent grant "only 4000 people have died form the disease" it makes me a bit irritated that the funding is so skewed...